Cash Money Records
|Cash Money Records|
|Parent company||Universal Music Group|
|Founder||Bryan "Birdman" Williams
Ronald "Slim" Williams
(In the US)
Universal Music Group
|Country of origin||United States|
|Location||New Orleans, Louisiana
|Official website||Official Site|
Cash Money Records, Inc. is an American record label founded by brothers Bryan "Birdman" Williams and Ronald "Slim" Williams, who currently act as CEOs. Today, it operates as a subsidiary of Universal Music Group, and is distributed by Republic Records, formerly Universal Republic. The label currently includes artists such as Austin Mahone, Nicki Minaj and Caskey among others.
1991–1999: Beginnings and deal with Universal Records
Cash Money Records was founded in 1991. Bryan Williams told some of his close friends the original motivation for starting the label:
"I was hoping it would get us out of the projects and into a positive way of life. And we wanted to help other people get out of this poverty"
For its first few years (1991–1994), Cash Money played host to a number of local releases by artists, selling only one album, without ever releasing a music video or having a Billboard hit. Some of the label's releases garnered some regional success in New Orleans, Louisiana, but the label was little known to the national rap scene. Artists on the label during this period included the group U.N.L.V. (Uptown Niggas Living Violently), Kilo G, Lil Slim, Pimp Daddy, and PxMxWx. In 1995, the label signed young rappers B.G., Young Buck and Lil Wayne. The signees marked what would be the second wave of Cash Money artists. In 1997, B.G. and Lil Wayne formed the group the Hot Boys together with Juvenile (who had already been regionally successful before Cash Money). Although initially they didn't make much impact outside of the region, they would become the label's most well known artists.
Cash Money's big break came in 1998 when the Hot Boys, B.G. and Juvenile in particular, caught the attention of Universal Records executives. In 1998, Cash Money signed a $30 million pressing and distribution with $3 million advance contract with Universal, entitling the label to 85% of its royalties, 50% of its publishing revenues and ownership of all masters. Dino Delvaille, who orchestrated the deal, later told HitQuarters: "I made certain they retained 100% ownership of their work. They deserve it."
After the deal Cash Money records would reach success it hadn't come close to previously. The release of Juvenile's 1998 album 400 Degreez, which was certified 4X Platinum by the RIAA, solidified Cash Money as a powerful label in the national hip-hop scene. Later albums in 1999 such as the Hot Boys' Guerrilla Warfare, B.G.'s Chopper City in the Ghetto, and Lil Wayne's Tha Block Is Hot also saw great chart success and furthered the label's reputation. These albums contained major Billboard hits such as Juvenile's "Back That Azz Up" (#19 on the Billboard Hot 100), B.G.'s "Bling Bling" (#36), and the Hot Boys' "I Need a Hot Girl" (#65). All of Cash Money's albums and singles in this period were solely produced by the label's in-house producer, Mannie Fresh. Their A&R at Universal, Dino Delvaille, said:
"When they first came into the business, they were very reluctant to make records with other people. They probably felt that people would steal their style or flavor, and I had to work hard to get them to open up to making records with Cam’ron, Puffy, and Clipse, among others."
2000–2012: Continued success and various signings
This label's success continued into the 21st century. Between 2001 and 2003, the label sold 7 million albums. The song "Still Fly" by the Big Tymers was nominated for two Grammy Awards. However, B.G. and Juvenile later left the label in 2002, claiming financial mismanagement. In April 2003, Juvenile returned to the label for a reported $4 million deal, and in return, he signed over the rights to Juve The Great, an album which would go on to sell over a million copies and contained the Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hit "Slow Motion". In 2007, former Hot Boys member Lil Wayne was named president of Cash Money Records and CEO of Young Money Entertainment, giving the rapper full creative control over all releases under the two labels. Later that year, however, Lil Wayne stepped down as president to focus on his career, especially Tha Carter III. In 2008, Lil Wayne re-signed with Cash Money, ensuring that his next few albums will be produced by the label.
In September 2008, the label diversified by releasing rocker Kevin Rudolf's smash-hit debut single "Let It Rock" featuring label-mate Lil Wayne. On October 15, 2008 at the MOBO Awards, British R&B singer Jay Sean announced that he had signed with Cash Money Records. In February 2009, the Williams brothers were featured in CNBC's Newbos: The Rise of America's New Black Overclass, a documentary show profiling several black multi-millionaires. In early 2009 former Roc-A-Fella Records artist Freeway signed with the label. On August 16, 2009, Bow Wow announced that he signed with Cash Money Records.
In 2009, they took part in a major label bidding war for Queens native rapper Nicki Minaj. Eventually, they won the bidding war and Nicki Minaj was signed to them. Cash Money Records popularity grew after signing Minaj and Canadian rapper Drake. On August 5, 2010, production group Cool & Dre signed with Cash Money Records. The production group announced the news via Twitter. They are the first in house producer Cash Money has had since Mannie Fresh.
On August 19, 2010, Birdman signed DJ Khaled to the label also signing his label We the Best Music Group as a subsidiary of Cash Money. On February 24, 2012, Cash Money Records signed the nu metal band Limp Bizkit. Wayne said the same day they were close to signing Ashanti.
2013–present: Rich Gang and dissension
In February 2013, Birdman released a compilation mixtape with Cash Money and Young Money, entitled Rich Gang: All Stars. Shortly afterwards, he announced a compilation album entitled Rich Gang: Flashy Lifestyle that was due to be released on May 21, 2013—it featured members of Cash Money, Young Money, and various collaborators. The first single from the project, "Tapout" was released on March 19, 2013, and features Lil Wayne, Future, Mack Maine, and Nicki Minaj, with production by 808 Mafia's Southside and TM88. "Fly Rich" featuring Stevie J, Future, Tyga, Meek Mill and Mystikal was also released as a promotional single.
The album's release date was then pushed back to July 23, 2013, while the title was also shortened to just Rich Gang. The album garnered a mixed critical reception and debuted at number 7 on the Billboard 200. On October 12, 2013, Birdman announced that he had signed West Coast gangsta rapper The Game, to Cash Money, in addition to several unnamed New York rappers. On December 11, 2013 The Game would then later clarify that he was not officially signed to Cash Money Records.
On December 4, 2014, just five days before Tha Carter V was due to be released, Wayne issued a statement saying the album would not be released on its expected release date, due to his displeasure with Birdman refusing to release the album, although it had been completed. Wayne also expressed his feelings by stating he felt both he and his creativity were being held "prisoner". On January 20, 2015, Wayne self-released Sorry 4 the Wait 2, a sequel to his 2011 mixtape, to compensate for the continued delay of Tha Carter V. Upon Sorry for the Wait 2 's release, it was noted Wayne disses Birdman and Cash Money Records, several times throughout the mixtape. Birdman was reported to be upset with this. In late January 2015, Lil Wayne filed a $51 million lawsuit against Birdman and Cash Money Records over the delay of Tha Carter V.
Also in January, Wayne said when he leaves Cash Money, he's taking Drake and Nicki Minaj, with him. On June 22, 2015, TMZ reported new details on the lawsuit. According to documents filed by Lil Wayne, the rapper claims that Birdman and Cash Money have mismanaged Young Money, including its biggest stars Drake and Nicki Minaj. The documents allege that Birdman and Cash Money, haven't paid people whom they owe money too, they haven't handed over profits either, among other things. Wayne claims that they've been mishandled so badly that both Drake and Nicki Minaj will probably leave Young Money. In June 2015, Wayne joined Jay-Z's TIDAL, as an artist owner, kicking off the partnership by exclusively releasing a single on the service titled "Glory." On July 4, 2015, Wayne released Free Weezy Album, exclusively through TIDAL, under Young Money and Republic Records. On July 15, prosecutors allege Birdman and Young Thug conspired to murder Lil Wayne and were involved in April 26 shooting. On July 16, Birdman filed a $50 million lawsuit against Jay Z's Tidal streaming service, over Lil Wayne's Free Weezy Album. The lawsuit claims that Cash Money Records exclusively owns the rights to Lil Wayne's music.
- Austin Mahone
- Baby E
- Chanel West Coast
- Chris Richardson
- Christina Milian
- Cory Gunz
- Glasses Malone
- Gudda Gudda
- Jae Millz
- Kid Pheno
- Lil Twist
- Limp Bizkit
- Mack Maine.
- Nicki Minaj
- PJ Morton
- Paris Hilton
- Soulja Boy
- Sarah Lenore
- Hell Rell
- Veronica V
From its founding until 2005, Mannie Fresh was the well known production head of all Cash Money releases, as the label's resident producer. The label would be without a proper in-house producer until August 2010, when production duo Cool & Dre signed to the label. Since then the label has grown its production division, by signing more producers.
- The Avengerz
- The Beat Bully
- Cool & Dre
- DJ Nasty & LVM
- London on da Track
- Mr. Beatz
- The Olympicks
- The Renegades
In October 2009, Cash Money Records, Birdman, Lil Wayne and various music distribution outlets were sued for copyright infringement by Thomas Marasciullo, who claims his voice was used without permission. The rappers asked him to record some "Italian-styled spoken word recordings" in 2006. The lyrics were allegedly used on "Respect" and other tracks from the rappers' collaboration album Like Father, Like Son and Birdman's 5 * Stunna.
In 2011, Cash Money Records, along with Lil Wayne, Universal Music Group, and Young Money Entertainment, was sued for US$15 million by Done Deal Enterprises, who claim Lil Wayne's song "BedRock" was stolen from Done Deal.
- Compilation albums
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