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Birdman and the Cash Money Records dynasty

By The Hip Hop Writer
Hip Hop Vibe Staff Writer

Recently, Cash Money Records made another power move, adding Busta Rhymes and his Flipmode roster to their already-large roster of talent. In hip hop, several labels have enjoyed runs at the top of the game. No run has been as organized as Cash Money Records, as they have been able to add current stars to the roster.

The year of 2011 has been another dominant year for Cash Money Records, as they have enjoyed successful releases from Lil Wayne and Drake. Before the end of the year, Cash Money also intends to release a new album from Bow Wow. Twenty years ago, a domination like this is what Birdman and his brother, Slim, dreamed of.

Not only does Cash Money Records have a large number of artists signed, they also have a number of sub-labels. The most-popular label in the game is Young Money, which operates as a subsidiary of the parent Cash Money label. Now, Busta Rhymes has been added to the mix and his first single with the label will be released within a week.

During his interview with MTV, last month, Murder Inc. Records’ CEO, Irv Gotti said hip hop needs Def Jam. Irv Gotti said he was discussing this with Interscope Records head, Jimmy Iovine, who told him Cash Money Records was the new home of hip hop. While he said there was no denying Cash Money Records and their run, Irv Gotti still feels hip hop is not quite hip hop without Def Jam and he said even Birdman would agree to this.

Before becoming a major part of the Universal Music Group, Def Jam was just like Cash Money Records, a hip hop label operating under major label distribution. However, Russell Simmons sold the company to what would become Universal and Island Def Jam was formed. Cash Money Records, while rapidly growing, is still under major label distribution, through Universal Records. Regardless, the movement is still becoming a dynasty.

Twenty years ago, Cash Money Records was founded by the brothers, Birdman and Slim, as an outlet for New Orleans rappers, as no major label executives were heavily scouting the area. The two partnered with local record stores and shot their own videos, which aired on local television stations. Quickly, Cash Money Records became a powerhouse in New Orleans, while cross-town rivals, No Limit Records, gained a major distribution deal with Priority Records and quickly rose to fame.

Cash Money Records’ time would come when they signed Juvenile, B.G., Lil Wayne, and Turk and formed The Hot Boyz. The success of the foursome helped Cash Money gain their own lucrative deal with Universal Records, which laid the groundwork for their current success. Following the departure of nearly the entire Cash Money roster, Lil Wayne took things upon himself to take over the rap game.

Birdman soon named him the president of Cash Money Records and granted him his own label, Young Money. Back in 2005, many did not see this as a major move. Knowing this, Lil Wayne sought to prove the world wrong when he began releasing a series of mixtapes and eventually took over the underground. By 2008, when he released Tha Carter III, the world was ready to crown him as the best rapper in the game, period.

Lil Wayne used his popularity to establish Young Money, which now boasts Drake, Nicki Minaj, Jae Millz, and many other popular talents. The success of Young Money has led to Birdman signing other artists, who have their own labels. Among the talent signed to the label is DJ Khaled, Bow Wow, and now Busta Rhymes. Already, Cash Money has enjoyed the success of DJ Khaled’s summer album, which boasted the “I’m on One” hit, We The Best Forever.

Now, the label has also enjoyed the success of Tha Carter IV and Take Care. Cash Money Records is gearing up for Bow Wow’s release of Underrated. From there, Cash Money will be gearing up for the 2012 releases from Nicki Minaj, Lil Twist, Lil Chuckee, Jae Millz, Busta Rhymes, Drake, DJ Khaled, and Lil Wayne.

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