Birdman has reached a level of success that no other hip hop executive has enjoyed. In 1992, he launched Cash Money Records and the label was very big on the local scene. But, things changed for the New Orleans-based label in 1997 when they landed a distribution deal with Universal Records.
With backing from Universal Records, Cash Money took over the entire hip hop game in the late 1990s. Soon, Birdman went from being well-off to being rich. He made the jump from local businessman to a legitimate nationally-known businessman, but the battle was not over.
The late 1990s were great for Cash Money, but the label suffered major losses from 2001 until 2003. Lil Wayne, the third fiddle behind Juvenile and B.G., was the only artist signed to the label by 2004. His album, Tha Carter did enough to keep the lights on at Cash Money. His follow-up album, Tha Carter II, however, helped re-establish Cash Money Records.
Lil Wayne hit the mixtape scene during what many felt was the peak of his career. His move seemed odd to most critics, but he worked with every artist in the game and built unity. By 2007, Lil Wayne was bigger than the biggest names, despite not having an album out, nor an album in the works. In 2008, this all changed when he released Tha Carter III and built his Young Money roster. Cash Money Records was granted a second lease on life through Lil Wayne and a third through Young Money.
This year will be the first year in which both Lil Wayne and Young Money will both be very high in popularity without riding on the other for success. Birdman has taken matters upon himself to become the flagship artist for the main Cash Money label. He is currently working on his Bigger Than Life album, which is loaded with collaborations from Young Money. There are also several big names signed to Cash Money, outside of the boss, including Bow Wow.
Effortlessly, Cash Money Records will end up dominating the year of 2011 through the roster of talent signed to the primary label and the subsidiaries.