“I hate to stop the show like this again,” Monaleo quipped in frustrated jest. “But I’m bout to go slap the s–t out the sound guy!”
During the sold-out New York stop on her Monaleo Like Monalisa Tour, the 22-year-old Houston rapper conquered severe technical difficulties — she was forced to stop her show and leave the stage three times — to deliver a performance that succinctly showcased what made so many fans fall in love with her boisterous, effervescent energy.
Two years ago, Monaleo’s debut single, “Beating Down Yo Block,” grew into a viral hit thanks to its Yungstar-nodding chorus and blistering, tongue-in-cheek wordplay. On Spotify, the song has collected over 36 million streams — nearly the same total as her follow-up hit, the Flo Milli-assisted “We Not Humping,” which elicited the second-most-fervent crowd response during Thursday night’s set.
This year, the rapper finally unleashed her debut studio album, the unpredictable and delightfully versatile Where the Flowers Don’t Die. Stitching together influences ranging from ’90s East Coast hip-hop and acoustic R&B to gospel and ’00s Southern rap, Where the Flowers Don’t Die presents a kaleidoscopic artist rooted in the sincerity of her own grit and heart. The album arrived just days after Monaleo welcomed her first child, a son with Stunna 4 Vegas, making for an especially immersive and introspective project that revealed new layers with each passing month.
With a bare-bones stage comprised of just herself, her DJ and her hypeman, Monaleo effortlessly displayed her artistic ethos on the Baby’s All Right stage: brazen self-confidence, candid nuggets of wisdom, and a commitment to pursuing the like you know you deserve. Her passion anchored the show — she frequently expressed her gratitude and her commitment to giving NYC the best show possible — and provided the foundation for her to tear through some of her most electrifying cuts (“Body Bag,” “Ridegmont Baby,” etc.) with impressive breath control, pristine delivery, and a rotating door of different tones that added splashes of verve across the setlist.
From a New York female rap bonanza to a heartfelt send-off, here are the five best moments of Monaleo’s Monaleo Like Monalisa Tour.
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