Texas-born rapper Monaleo, represented by the Stomp Down Collective, has been dropping singles since 2020, and released her breakthrough single “Beating Down Yo Block” on February 24, 2021. After a prolific run of singles, two years to date after releasing Beating Down Yo Block, Monaleo has released her first single of 2023 – “Ridgemont Baby.”
“Ridgemont Baby,” produced by DJ Chose and released February 24, features the American rapper in a very glamorous pink-on-pink ensemble of a pink turtleneck with pink gloves, pink hoop earrings, and a pink faux-fur stole, sitting in a pink chair in front of a pink brick building with barred windows as the cover art. This soft, sparkling vision of the glamorous life juxtaposed in front of the harsh reality beneath a rose colored filter makes a strong statement all on its own – This is the reality that Monaleo has always dreamed for herself, regardless of where she was.
In the 8-bar intro, Monaleo explains exactly what the song is about and why she has written it, stating:
I don’t understand all this, I made Monaleo
Monaleo wouldn’t be who she was is if it wasn’t for me
Like, is you serious, nigga?
I don’t owe no bitch nothin’, I don’t owe no nigga nothin’
I really got this shit out the dirt
That’s why it’s mud on my shoes
But fuck it let’s get into it
As she dives in, Monaleo describes being a “Ridgemont Baby,” simultaneously repping her neighborhood and divulging some of the things she’s been through in her life, recounting:
Every time I read another blog, it’s a new story
Me and Keke runnin’ from the laws (Aw, baby), that’s a true story (Aw, baby)
You bitches grew up with family dog in a two-story
So in other words, bitch, you don’t know the half
What you know bout’ boilin’ hot water just to take a bath?
The song is broken up with a spoken-word bridge in between the two verses, giving the listener a reprieve from some of the heavier facts of life before Monaleo continues to utilize this autobiographical track to lay down the hard truth with verse two as she explains:
Comin’ home from school to the lights off
We was sprayin’ roaches on the cabinets with the Lysol
And I ain’t fuck with you bitches ’cause I ain’t like y’all
Always knew I was different, I’m nothin’ like y’all
Bedbugs and fleas, I was on my knees
I was askin’, “God, please, can You help me find some peace?”
It is a song that will wrench your gut a bit, especially if you can relate to any of the things that she is explaining. However, the rapper balances out the hardships by sprinkling in her victories with lines like these ones that wrap the song up with a big, beautiful, pink bow:
“Now I pull up big body, big Beamer
Grim reaper, niggas pay me big bucks to kill features
Can’t let a bitch or a nigga play me
‘Cause we’ll let them fireworks off like Katy
Still can’t name one thang a nigga gave me
Everything gravy, Ridgemont baby“
All in all, “Ridgemont Baby” is an incredible feat of wordplay combined with genuinely vulnerable lyrics over a soothing, down tempo beat that allows the listener to fully hear and absorb the words. It is an anthem for all the “Ridgemont” Babies everywhere, regardless of neighborhood, who have experienced extreme poverty at some point in their journeys and it deserves to be on all the Chill Hip-Hop playlists of 2023.
I know this is one that I personally needed in my life.