When Money Jay boasts that he’s “strapped up like the military,” on his hit single “Death
Row,” he isn’t just saying that to be saying it. As the newest soldier on Akon’s Konvict Music
label, he is more than equipped to declare war on anybody standing in his path to rap dominance.
Born Tysen Bolden in the Bronx, New York, Money Jay moved to Decatur, Georgia at the age of
two. His stay-at-home mother and truck driver father sought solace in the South, hoping to raise
their family in a safer and slower environment. But trouble knows no borders.
“My folks had three other kids so there wasn’t a lot of money to go around,” admits Jay. “Folks
used to roast me on my clothes so I wound up getting in a lot of fights. I knew I had to get my
own if I wanted to be somebody. So after that, I started hustling.”
Whether it was candy or weed, the young Money Jay was already building a reputation as a
hustler making money by the time he hit 7th grade. This led to his hanging with and picking up
the habits of the older street dealers that he idolized growing up; habits that included carrying
guns. In the 9th grade, Jay was expelled from high school for gun possession, which only gave
him more free time to roam the streets.
A couple of wrong turns eventually landed him on the wrong side of the law a few times. It
wasn’t until he saw his close friends and family getting jammed up with years-long bids that he
decided that this was not the route he wanted to take.
“Everyone around me was getting locked up,” says Jay. “They would call me from jail everyday
and I didn’t want to end up in the same boat so I turned to music to try and leave all that illegal
Like anyone else that’s grown up in the 80′s and 90′s, rap music was a dominant influence on
Money Jay’s life. He used to write down raps in school and share them with friends, which led
to him actually recording some of his lyrics over beats. By age 16, he built a home studio and
started making and distributing his own mixtapes. Though music still wasn't his main focus, the
product spread, demand grew and over time Money Jay’s music was getting spins in some of
Atlanta’s most popular nightclubs. Ironically, it was a daytime occurrence that led to Jay being in
the position he is now.
“One day I was out hustling on Glenwood Road, and Akon came to the spot,” remembers Jay.
“He got a CD from me, drove off and then came right back saying he wanted to sign me. Even
then I wasn’t taking the music serious, and he could tell. But he always told me that I should.”
Akon remembers, “As soon as I got in the car, something told me to put his CD on. Once I
heard it, I hit a U-turn and went back asking if this was really him rapping. When he told me it
was, I wanted to sign him on the spot; but I knew he was still hustling so I let him know that if
he got serious, I wanted him on my team.”
Akon’s advice fell on deaf ears initially as Jay opted to keep one foot in the streets. It wasn’t until
his younger brother was incarcerated that he started paying full attention. Keeping in contact
with Akon, Jay finally left the streets alone and let him know he was ready to be a Konvict
recording artist. Since then, the musical partnership has been nothing short of promising.
The first song from the upcoming CD is Money Jay’s surging single “Death Row.” The track is
one part club-banger, one part salute to his brother and closest friends’ legal problems.
“One day I was at the crib, watching 2Pac perform “Hit ‘Em Up,” says Jay about the inspiration
behind the Sonny Digital-produced banger. “Knowing how I am and what I’ve been through,
seeing that performance made me feel like I would’ve been signed with Death Row at their
While Death Row is now a thing of the past, Money Jay aims to keep that spirit alive with his
future at Akon’s Konvict Music label. Well equipped with the voice, street cred and most
importantly music to become rap’s next big thing, it shouldn’t be long before someone else is
watching Money Jay on TV and getting inspired in the same way.
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