Kenny Muney is among a breakout class of new Memphis Rap sensations. Signed to Young Dolph’s Paper Route EMPIRE label, Kenny closed out 2019 with his Muney Talk mixtape. Now, the 23-year-old self-made rapper from the city’s south side continues to build on a resume that includes handfuls of videos streaming in the high six figures. Now, Kenny Muney approaches the new decade expanding his discography and continuing to stack paper.
“My ambition is nonstop, and it comes from my mama. I done watched her work my whole life. Why would I be sitting when I always watched this woman work hard?” Kenny recalls growing up with his sisters while his mother worked multiple jobs. Observing that fuels his ambition. It also gave him the space to grow up in the streets, and begin pursuing Rap at a young age. “I always had to be the man. I’m the youngest, but I take care of everybody. It’s I can’t sit down.”
Fate very nearly sat Kenny down—for good. At 15, the rapper who uses his real first name, was shot multiple times. One of the bullets struck the teen just inches from his heart. “I feel like it was a sign to find my calling, find something to do, and find a purpose. If you don’t have a purpose, you’re taking up space. What are you gonna do?” says Muney. It ultimately changed him. “I look at everything differently since then—my time, how I move, where I go–everything.” It also led the budding artist to focus on his craft. He now spent his time with a microphone, recording songs, often with his close friend Key Glock. Now, they are high-profile label-mates at Paper Route.
Those early Kenny Muney songs struck a chord—especially “YTN Freestyle.” Now at nearly 2.5 million views, the song made an impression. “People just felt it. It was me, for real. I was freestyling about the first thing that came to my mind.” The Mud Money 2 inclusion was part of the first wave of music that Kenny financed. Young Dolph was among those who took notice. Years before he and Kenny had any business together, the Soul City star mentored the artist with the tireless grind. “Any time I wanted some information, he never hesitated to give it to me. That’s real, and people don’t do that these days.” Dolph provided tips on getting exposure at radio and online, which happened quickly for Kenny. The Fader, Worldstar, and HotNewHipHop are among those who embraced the rapper with the graceful flow and resonant voice.
Kenny eventually signed with Dolph and Paper Route. The move was based on respect as well as a comradery among Memphis rappers. “We work so hard because we come from so much hate. We have no choice but to hustle; they’re waiting on us to fail,” Kenny says of outsiders and rivals. “Where I come from, you’re either competition, or you’re food. It’s one or the other.” “FR (For Real)” sent a loud message that Kenny had worked too hard to give up his spot. It also charted his growth. His latest, “Feeling Me,” is a video about a couple’s massage gone wrong. “I’m never satisfied,” he admits. “It’s a gift and a curse. I’m always looking for the next step.”
Kenny Muney is wasting no time. He is planning a 2020 followup to Muney Talk. At a time when his career is taking flight, he’s also become a leader. “I see a lot of people doing the same things that I did to come up—which is good. But I feel I am a blueprint to self-made rappers, for sure.”