WHY I RATE: H Moneda

Selected by: Robert Kazandjian

Name: H Moneda

Where He’s From: Streatham, South London

Genre: Trap

File Next To: C-Biz, Blade Brown

When He Started: “I started making beats around 2005.”

Sounds Like: “Trap sophistication. Luxury trap.”

First Music That Inspired Him: “It was ‘Do The Bart Man’ by Bart Simpson.”

Streatham-raised rapper H Moneda has been involved in the music game since the mid-2000s, starting out as a teenager on the buttons for Ill Mill and SMS before a stint on the wing inspired him to pick up the mic. Initially, Moneda rapped under a different alias, but his journey so far has been defined by evolution and he’s keen to leave the past where it belongs. “We won’t go there,” he tells TRENCH.

Moneda re-announced himself and made his intentions clear for listeners back in 2016, with a straight-talking, super-confident “Summer Sixteen” freestyle: “I ain’t made it ’til I say I’m never selling coke again.” His first feature-length project, Foreign Exchange, followed in 2017, setting the template for his unique brand of luxurious, sophisticated trap. Standout tracks like “10/10” and “Whip” put a distinctly British spin on the Atlanta-born sound. The project was released independently through Moneda’s own Maché Money label, and it’s his ultimate goal to “turn the Maché Money label into a global success.”

Foreign Exchange created a buzz around H Moneda’s name, and he toured with Young Money off the back of its success. Kicking back after performing with global superstars was a memorable experience. “I was with Chris Brown at his show in Amsterdam in 2017, and let’s just say I’ve seen groupie life in its highest form,” he admits. He’s also gone on to sell out his own headline show at Blackout in Milan: “Having a sold-out show in Italy is good for the CV.”

In March 2018, Moneda dropped Flex Therapy. The 7-track EP doubles down on the big-money boasts and braggadocious energy, focusing more on the big wins associated with trapping than the obvious risks. On the titular track’s hook, he offers an explanation: “I find the flex therapeutic.” Sonically, it offers a more cohesive, refined example of Moneda’s sound. It’s also notable for featuring an early appearance of BackRoad Gee on the wavy cut “Jump Out The Pot”.

2020 was Moneda’s biggest year to date, though. He released the C-Biz assisted “Juggernaut” in the spring, before serving up a charismatic feature on Ambush’s anthemic “Winners”. Then, at the back-end of the year, he alerted anyone who’d been sleeping on his talents with an ice-cold, patois-laced Mad about Bars freestyle -- one of last year’s best freestyles on any platform. “It’s my latest body of work so it’s a closer representation of where I’m currently a,” he says. “It’s a top freestyle that I’m proud of.”

The freestyle set the scene for the excellent Flex Therapy 2 tape. There’s something decadent about H Moneda’s effortless delivery and packed lyricism on the project, like he’s kicked back in a penthouse suite overlooking the city, spraying lyrics between sips of the finest champagne. His bars might be complex and layered, but his approach to writing is simple. “I have several different formulas due to vibe or environment,” he explains. “A lot of the time, I get an idea I just record a voice note on my phone.”

Despite the emphasis on lavish flexing, Flex Therapy 2 is a project of contrasting moods. Once again, it’s the titular track that offers a deeper insight into the rhymer’s mindset, touching on his relationship with both his parents and the roads: “Crown Court there won’t no-one at my sentencing / That can break a man or make a man an independent king.” It shows the kind of artistic and emotional depth that elevates an artist to greatness.

TRENCH Highlight...

Posted on January 25, 2021