10 Facts You Didn't Know About Houston's 'Beating Down Yo Block' Rapper Monaleo
The Texas rapper's hit has solidified her place among a new generation of female rappers.
by Danteé Ramos
August 30, 2022 at 11:39 pm
Leondra Roshawn Gay, 21, known by her stage name Monaleo is a Houston artist on the come-up and a viral superstar who is becoming a force to be reckoned with.
A refreshing addition to Houston’s renowned rap resume includes Megan Thee Stallion, Travis Scott and Don Toliver. Monaleo gained significant success with her debut single “Beating down Yo Block” and her recent hit “We Not Humping” featuring Flo Milli.
From her TikTok success and relatable personality, Monaleo is the girl you need to get to know.
She grew up around a church choir and instruments.
Monaleo grew up singing in a church choir while picking up the talents of playing the piano and the flute, but she never thought to rap. Instead, she wanted to be a singer but feared performing in front of a crowd.
“I was always musically inclined for sure, but I had no idea that I would be a rapper,” Monaleo told Houstonia. “That was the craziest, most far-fetched thing I could’ve ever conjured in my head.”
“I wanted to be a singer,” she told NME. “When I was young, my grandmother would make me sing in church, but I hated people looking at me — I just loved to sing.”
Her younger brother is a rapper.
Monaleo’s younger brother is a rapper, Yung Rampage, known for his early 2000s anthem, “Knockin’ Pictures Off Da Wall.” Monaleo was introduced to the rap life after taking Young Rampage to a recording studio for his birthday in 2019.
She is an advocate for mental health and suicide.
Monaleo has shared her trials with suicidal thoughts and depression on many occasions. She has posted her old suicide notes on Instagram to unravel her truth about depression and mental health with her fans.
She’s explained that no matter your current reality, you can still achieve happiness and success. The artist has even promoted a Monaleo suicide prevention hotline, taking mental health advocacy to elevated heights.
Monaleo and DJ D Baby were good friends.
It’s unknown just how close the two were, but following DJ D Baby’s tragic death, Monaleo posted a performance she did to honor her late friend.
“Above all, I lost somebody that was important to me, especially during the first 6 months of my career. It’s devastating to see something so tragic happen to somebody so sweet,” Monaleo wrote in the full lengthened caption on Instagram.
“Thank you, Darian, for believing in me and pushing me to succeed. This one is for you,” she added.
A heartbreak led to the success of her first single.
Influenced post a traumatic breakup, Monaleo wrote “Beating Down Yo Block,” sampling Yungstar’s 2000s anthem, “Knockin Pictures Off Da Wall.” Released in January 2020, the debut single has now amassed over 15 million streams.
She attended an HBCU.
She was pursuing a degree at Prairie View A&M University before putting her studies on pause due to her musical career.
“I didn’t want to go to college, but everyone expected me to because I was smart, so I went there and changed my major a lot,” she told NME.
“I was getting ready to change over to a computer engineering major, but at that time my raps were starting to get a lot of traction so I was like, ‘OK, is this the moment? Is it getting ready to happen?’ I stopped going to school and focused on music, and it worked out,” she added.
She is open about performing with social anxiety.
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“I’m still having a really hard time getting acclimated [to performing live]. The last show I had was one of my best because I was honest with the people out there,” she told NME. “For example, Summer Walker and I have a lot of similarities with how we deal with our anxieties. I remember when she canceled her tour and thinking, ‘That’s something I’d do.'”
Rapper Stunna 4 Vegas may be her man.
Stunna 4 Vegas and Monaleo have seemingly been seeming an item since late last year. Their public display of affection and support was often shown off on Monaleo’s page, but recently, the two have been quiet. Monaleo has not deleted the couple’s pictures from her Instagram page, so maybe they’re still together, just busy working on their careers.
She uses her story of sexual and emotional abuse as a way to help others.
Monaleo has briefly spoken about the abuse she endured growing up, but despite her past, she has turned herself into a life-size model for mental health, never giving up and having faith in the man above.
Her stage name derives from The Mona Lisa.
Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa inspired the artist’s stage name, but instead of Lisa, she decided her nickname, Leo, would be best. She describes her alter-ego as the most exuberant and self-assured version of herself.
“She [Monaleo] is the most confident, aggressive, assertive, bad bitch version of myself. Monaleo is the piece of me that’s confident, multiplied times ten,” she said.
Monaleo is next up! What do you think?