American rapper Monaleo

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  • What Is Monaleo’s “Body Bag” Inspired By?
  • Monaleo’s Traumatic Childhood Is Behind “Body Bag”

Fans love dissecting the true meaning behind songs. Whether it’s Taylor Swift’s “Cardigan” or Lady Gaga’s “John Wayne”, there always appears to be something far deeper, and more personal, going on under the catchy lyrics and cool vibe of a piece. In some cases, such as with some of Brandi Carlile’s work, the true meanings of songs can change over time. But this doesn’t seem to be the case with some of the most famous works of American rapper Monaleo.

The 21-year-old Monaleo (whose real name is Leondra Roshawn Gay) has always been open about her mental health issues and some of the incredibly traumatic experiences she’s faced in her life. And she’s done so through her music, including her colorful 2022 track, “Body Bag”. Yet, some fans on Twitter believed the song was influenced by something else entirely.

What Is Monaleo’s “Body Bag” Inspired By?

In an interview with Vulture, Monaleo addressed the Twitter reaction to her incredibly intense music video for “Body Bag”. According to Vulture, various Twitter users believed that it was inspired by Jeffrey Dahmer and the Evan Peters Netflix show that depicted his life.

“I’ve never even seen the Netflix show,” Monaleo said before claiming she’s not interested because of the horrible crimes Dahmer committed. “I was just like, I’m not inspired by that white man at all.”

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However, Monaleo did explain that the music video, which features her frightfully ready to take a few lives, really stems from her relationship with death growing up. Yes, the song is also about dealing with a particularly bad boyfriend and threatening him. But it has a far deeper meaning that connects to some awful events in the Houston-based rapper’s life.

Monaleo’s Traumatic Childhood Is Behind “Body Bag”

During her interview with Vulture, Monaleo revealed that she once had an aspiration of working in a mortuary. Without a doubt, the future rapper had a bit of an obsession with death.

“I was interested in the fact that people died. I thought that s*** was crazy,” Monaleo explained to Vulture. “You mean, we’re good one day and then the next day we just f***ing die?”

One of her first experiences with someone passing was seeing her uncle in a casket. She was seven or eight at the time.

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“I was always grossly interested in [death]. So I ended up going to a high school in Houston called the High School for Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice,” Monaleo explained. “My mom put me in that school, ’cus she thought I would make a good defense attorney. She thought I just had a way with my words and I just knew how to explain s***. But I ended up following the forensic-pathology path. I was telling myself to go to school to be a forensic pathologist, to figure out how people died. Or I wanted to be a mortuary scientist.”

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After a while, the focus on the dark topic added to Monaleo’s “bad” mental state.

“I was going to school, sleeping on couches. I didn’t have a car and I didn’t have a job. And through this post-breakup experience, it was f***ing tearing my insides apart just going to school everyday,” the artist admitted to Vulture. “We had to do this thing where we would do this apprenticeship and we would have to go to actual funeral homes and help out. And that was triggering because I just used to see a lot of people that either look like me, my grandparents, or they look like my mom or they look like my dad or they were the same age as my sibling and I just kept thinking about the mortality of the people around me. It was the icing on the cake for me.”

While Monaleo claimed to have unsuccessfully reached out to professors for help, she fell deeper and deeper into her depression. And then COVID hit and things got exceptionally worse.

“I was just in the worst state I’ve ever seen myself in.”

Fortunately, Monaleo poured her anguish into her music and basically launched her career with 2020’s “Beating Down Yo Block”.

“That was kind of a sliver of hope for me,” she said to Vulture. “I was just continuing to record music and figuring out, okay, I like rap and I feel it’s giving me a confidence boost.”

By 2021, Monaleo had a fully-fledged music career. But she didn’t lose track of the somewhat morbid passion she once had. And that’s evident in her “Body bag” music video.

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