The Texas native glides centerstage with "Where the Flowers Don't Die', a debut album that provides a raw peek into how unrestricted Monaleo will be in the industry.
A white man donning a fluffy mullet walks swiftly through double doors into a busy hospital waiting room, thumbing through a pile of paperwork attached to a clipboard. A surgeon walks past him and lunges to the left as Monaleo bursts through the doors leading two other pregnant women dressed as superior soul sisters in colorful afro wigs and shimmering bodysuits.
After choking up a patient and hitting him with a backhand, Monaleo ends up in a private room with real-life boyfriend and her child’s father, Stunna 4 Vegas, portraying a sonographer taking images of a turnt fetus. The visual that accompanies “A** Kickin '' is not only a literal depiction of the lyrics, “Monaleo, big bully, takin’ names, a** kickin”. It’s symbolic of the message her album, Where The Flowers Don’t Die, delivers track by track.
Leondra Roshawn Gay is here to carve out a lane of her own and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.
Where The Flowers Don’t Die introduces Monaleo with an honest versatility that was an unexpected gamble for a debut project. The 22-year old Texas native could have infinitely sailed in the rambunctious lane “Beating Down Yo Block” reserves for the foundation of her career. A banger like “Wig Splitter” launches the audience into another J. White Did It production - like “A** Kickin” - where Monaleo reminds us that she’s “a thug *** gangsta *****, come get yo’ wig split”.
It’s the kind of vibe the “We Not Humping” collaborator’s audience has grown used to. The aggressive tone behind her words on top of the grim beat keeps listeners on track to recognizing what she stands on.
Monaleo chooses to divert from the predictable and leaps into “Sober Mind”, a ballad that disseminates any preconceived notions about her resting in a particular lane. The artist pulls back the curtain to unveil yet another layer of her soul in a race for peace and prosperity with a clear head, no matter the circumstance. She flexes her vocals in what feels like an unfinished piece that offers the perception of how much room there is for growth in so many corners of her artistry.
“The Cologne Song” allows a deeper drift into Monaleo’s vulnerability as she croons in wonderment at how amazing this man smells. A charming melody that lingers long after its two minutes and 55 seconds, it volunteers another curveball in the series of twists and turns Where the Flowers Don’t Die presents.
With a slight occurrence of whiplash throughout the album, it is successful in introducing Monaleo’s range and the unique realms of her personality that she intentionally pours across her work. The “Ridgmont Baby” is here to curate a vibe of her own.
If your vibe doesn’t align, that’s on you.
Listen to 'Where the Flowers Don't Die" below: