As the age-old proverb goes: Nothing lasts forever. But in the world of hip-hop certain things do, and for decades its been Cash Money Records. That is, until now.
On Thursday (December 4), Cash Money went from being an army to looking more like a fading empire, as marquee artist Lil Wayne took to Twitter and unloaded a series of tweets expressing great frustration with the label he’s called home since age 11.
Following numerous broken release dates for Tha Carter V, which was slated to drop Oct. 28 before being moved to Dec. 9, Weezy called out his label and Birdman for the delay and proclaimed that he is “prisoner” to the fold.
A Cash Money representative did not immediately reply with a comment on the situation.
Obviously, this isn't the first rift for Cash Money given its long history of having unhappy artists in the past, best seen in the on-again, off-again relationships with Mannie Fresh and Juvenile (The latter recently signed a new CMR deal). But, this one certainly is the biggest.
When it was Busta Rhymes, Jay Sean, and Mystikal announcing their departures from the label earlier this year, due to the apparent disconnect between the label’s tiers of artists it was clear that maybe they didn’t quite fit the mold. Then, when it was Tyga and Lil Twist blasting the label in October, it largely got written off as “Tyga just being Tyga, and Twist being Twist.” But, now that it’s Cash Money’s flagship artist the one having issues with the label, that long-running notion of Cash Money being a tight knit family now starts to look like a false political campaign promise.
Wayne calling out the label is like Kobe Bryant, who practically bleeds purple and yellow, throwing Los Angeles Lakers owners Jim and Jeanie Buss under the bus. The thought is alone cringeworthy. And to point out again, this is Weezy. The one who rode with the team since 11-years-old, stuck by when everyone jumped ship, and carried the entire label on his back alone. Throughout, it’s always been Wayne and Cash Money (and you could check the print).
In 2006, he would famously tell MTV in an interview after ditching an offer from then-Def Jam president Jay Z to re-sign with Cash Money, “I’m a loyal dude, I stick with the fam.” These days however, it’s clear that staying down isn’t cutting it for Wayne anymore, as is the case for the other disgruntled signees. Complicating things even further is the fact that Wayne launched his Young Money fold, which boasts signees like Drake and Nicki Minaj, through the label. Where does that leave them now?
It’s clear as day that there are problems, both internal and external, but when those issues start coming to light on a frequent basis, that’s when things become bit of a head scratcher.
In 2012, as his profile rose, Drake showed possible signs of a disjointing when he inked a deal with Warner Bros. Records to launch his imprint, OVO Sound. “The goal is to continue to push the culture forward and form a team that can really contribute some great music to the world,” he would tell Billboard in his 2013 cover story. Although there were no obvious signs of bad blood between he and the label, the move left many fans to wonder. However, he shot down the rumors quick, wholly pledging his allegiance to the label on Nothing Was the Same’s “The Language” and bringing out Stunna, Nicki Minaj, and Wayne on separate occasions during his Would Your Like A Tour? trek.
"Drake was a fan before a friend [with Cash Money] and maybe we put the most on the table but that was my thing," Baby clarified in a 2013 interview with DJ Whoo Kid about Drake. Dismissing the rumors, Birdman went on to note, "Drake down with the team for life. I got nothing but love for Drake and the whole OVO camp, that's family forever."
But, fellow YMCMB star Tyga, who released two albums on the label (Careless World, Hotel California) went all the way public with his discontent in October.
And when it came time to address the situation, Birdman told Hot 97’s Funkmaster Flex, “I got all love and respect for Tyga, that’s been my lil’ bro, but my intake is, I’m family oriented — either you in or you out. If you’re out, you’re an outcast to me. If you’re in, you’re family.” Since then, Tyga may have found his way out, announcing yesterday (December 4) that his third studio album, The Gold Album: 18th Dynasty, will arrive next year independently.
Meanwhile, Nicki Minaj, who has stayed mum on the topic, will be releasing her third album, The Pinkprint, this month, which will surely have everyone paying close attention. After all, she did mention that the new release will be her most personal to date. And outside of Wayne, Drake, Tyga, Twist, Nicki happens to be the only one out of the Young Money fold whose never shown any signs of discontent or fueled rumors about possibly parting ways.
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As an aside, Birdman may have been planning for this moment all along, seeing as how his focus has been on Rich Gang. Comprised of Young Thug and Rich Homie Quan, the crew dropped a mixtape in October, announced a tour, and are currently prepping an actual album, Rich Gang: Tha Tour Pt. 2. You can probably say, he's already on to the next thing.
But going back to Weezy, he previously declared that Carter V will be his final album. Whether that still stands, and considering these recent events, there's new reasons to believe why. At any rate, Cortez Bryant, Wayne's manager, told TMZ everything is good between Weezy and the label. "We good," he told the cameras, "Everything good."
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