Show me the….MONEY Badoo
It’s the fearless artists who are the most captivating. Their spirited drive to express themselves, and in so doing, take us on strange rides into who they are can be like waking from a fevered dream. Money Badoo, singer, rapper and songwriter is one such artist.
Swiftly cultivating a following peopled by purveyors of authenticity and the unapologetic cool, Money Badoo has arrived on the South African music scene with a unique and sultry sound, equal parts intimate r ‘n b and street wisdom hip-hop. She strikes a beguiling stage presence too, with depths and textures artfully clothed in an aesthetic that borders on performance art.
The Wire brings you her first in-depth interview.
How did you come up with the stage name “Money Badoo”?
My friends started calling me J Money, because I always look like “money”. In 2017 when I started taking music seriously I created the stage name. I kept Money, and took on Badoo as a spin on, and homage to one of my favourite artists Erykah Badu.
What does “Money Badoo” represent?
Fearless, creative female of colour. Someone who makes music, is obsessed with music and culture.
Have you always been writing songs?
I’ve been writing songs since I was 12 years old, really just singing vibes. I was influenced by Justin Bieber and Beyonce, but in 2016 I took writing songs seriously and started writing freestyle rap. It was the beginning of a concerted creative approach to writing songs.
Explain your creative process in creating songs?
My creative process, I simply I just get into the zone of being the maker of my art. Like a painter creating on a canvas, I let the beat and the emotions I feel take me on a journey. Mostly I let the songs write themselves.
What was the first song you wrote?
A corny song, I wrote when I was 12 followed by things influenced by Alia and pop vibes. But in 2016 I wrote free style rap, it was a bit wack, with no beat and totally off the top of my head. But the feeling captured a proper intention to write a song.
What are your musical influences?
Definitely Alia, Amy Winehouse, Frank Ocean, Drake, Lil Wayne, MIA and Travis Scott. I’m constantly engulfed in and listening to a lot music and diverse artists. Right now I really like Party Next Door, Tori Lane and Princess Nokia.
Of the songs that you have written which one connects with you the Artist and with you the music lover?
All of them! I took my time to nurture and mature my sound, experimenting along the way to produce something organic and authentic. I’ve never been afraid to fail. I always make music with my heart. This is the connection between my music as an artist and music lover. I give a sincere piece of myself to my music.
What lyric from an artist that you admire do you wish you wrote?
I wish I wrote, not just lyrically but musically as well, “Mamasita” by Travis Scott. I love the lyric:
“Money on my head like a Jesus piece
Blunt, now I’m higher than Khalifa be
Bad bitch lookin’ like a Philippine”
What does it mean to you?
I feel the whole entire song is a copy of my soul…I love Travis Scott generally, and “Mamasita” made me want to push my sound further.
What came first…singing or rapping?
Singing came first. I come from a Christian home, so singing and church and gospel music were my first experiences of performing. I’ve always felt that I wasn’t the best singer in the world, but I could hold a note, and that was good enough for me.
You do both so well. You always sound in the moment singing a verse or spitting a rhyme. What motivates and inspires your vocal delivery.
Recording it about 12 times so it sounds as natural as possible (laughs). For me it’s about not over thinking it too much and just letting it flow. Because I write my own music it’s easy to do the transitions because I’ve already done it about 30 times in my head and I’ve planned it out.
How do you describe your sound?
It fuses many genres, trap soul, r ‘n b, and hip hop into something new and fresh and I think that’s what people enjoy.
Are there any other local artists you are keen to collaborate with?
Jay Marley, Riky Rick, Yanga Chief. Right now I’m happy to get in the studio with almost anybody and vibe out a song and make something beautiful.
What inspired the single “All My Friends”
The power that is unity and community to me, namely a collective of amazing human beings I call friends. It’s about friendship and the love and support I get from my friends.
Tell us the story about ‘Row Your Boat’ (RYB)
It’s a story about coming out of a very long relationship, where you felt that the person was “the one” and then having to live on your own. It’s also about transitions in your life and how you have to be able to adapt and keep rowing your boat, keep doing you, no matter what happens in your life.
Your aesthetic is bold and sexy but powerful. Tell us how you use fashion to express yourself?
I definitely use fashion to express myself as a whole. I go to fashion to express how I feel on that day, or express a part of me. I use it as a statement to the world, as a form of art performance. I tend to be fearless about how I dress and express that hard as a visual language.
Your sound is pushing the experimental side of soul and hip hop. Is there any particular sound or genre you would like to explore?
Maybe rock, pop, or Japanese trap and some Afro vibes. I’m open to experimenting and pushing boundaries and this has helped me become versatile as far as music is concerned.
Are there any projects you are working on right now that we can expect to see soon?
I’m currently working on my debut project which is very exciting and a lot is going into it, but I’m dropping a single called “LIH BIH” with 2 of the hardest trappers in S.A, my bestie Sauwcy and VegasXCesar soon.
C.S.A.’s monthly cultural portal, The WIRE connects the dots of culture. With concise stories, many with video content, take a premium dive into the world of African entertainment & cultural fluidity. It’s one thing to be hip to what’s happening but it is another to know why.