Several hip hop record labels have enjoyed impressive runs on top of the game. However, for various reasons, the labels end up falling apart. The only exception to the rule has been Def Jam and much of their success comes from being a part of the Universal Music Group and being partnered with Island Records. However, Cash Money Records has experienced an incredible amount of success, while remaining an independent label.
Over twenty years ago, Birdman and his brother, Slim, founded the label as an outlet for the rappers in New Orleans. For five years, the label was successful on the local level, while rival label, No Limit Records, experienced mainstream success. No Limit CEO, Master P, was able to negotiate a distribution deal with Priority Records. In the deal, Master P retained the rights to all of his music and the bulk of the profit.
Upon signing The Hot Boyz and their success as a group and as solo artists, Cash Money Records was soon poised for mainstream success. Universal Records offered a deal to the brothers, which they accepted. Through the deal, the label became nationally known and were making appearances on hip hop radio, television, and magazines. However, once several artists left Cash Money, the future looked bleak for the label, as they were up for renewal with their contract with Universal. Because of their previous success, Cash Money Records kept their deal and they did not disappoint.
Lil Wayne, the only artist from the previous run to remain with Cash Money, took the reigns and founded his own label, Young Money, under the umbrella of Cash Money Records. The Young Money branch has produced talents, such as Drake, Cory Gunz, and Nicki Minaj and plan to introduce several more in 2012. Meanwhile, Birdman has added several artists to the primary Cash Money roster, including Bow Wow, Mystikal, and Busta Rhymes. While Cash Money Records has established itself as a force in the hip hop industry, Birdman is looking for a new challenge for the label.
Birdman recently discussed his plans with Billboard, saying he wants to add more R&B artists, along with signing Country, and Gospel artists to the label. Birdman wants the Cash Money brand to be able to put out all types of music, not just hip hop.