Cash Money Records, where dreams come true...if your dream is to sign away all your publishing, have your life threatened by your employer and never be paid the money you're owed.
Cash Money stories are kinda my thing, and over the past year I’ve become obsessed with everything surrounding the label (with the exception of Tyga). Between their current lawsuits and their checkered past, I’m convinced there is not a single label as shady or as ruthless as Cash Money in all of music. Whenever I hear a new story about the inner workings of Baby's empire my ears perk up.
So when Lil Wayne mentioned the "friendly competition" that took place during the Hot Boys' recording process during his Collegrove interview with Genius I heard a slightly different tune.
"Baby and Slim was the captains. What would happen is they would give us a title and a subject and everyone would go off. Mannie would go make a beat and you would rap your part to Baby and Slim once you finish. They would dissect the song from there. So you would know whoever they think is the hottest, they putting that verse verse first and whoever they think is the next hottest verse, they putting that verse last. So you always wanted to be first or last..if you go back and listen, I was always first or last."
Well this news certainly gives a whole new meaning to, "if you ain’t first you're last," huh? Seriously though...all four rappers would each go into a different room and write based only off the title of a song? They would write a verse to a beat that didn’t exist yet? Baby and Slim basically called all the shots, had final approval, and plugged in all the parts as they saw fit? That doesn’t sound like a very creative, free atmosphere. In fact, it sounds more like a musical assembly line run by the big bosses overseeing an operation that was lining their pockets.
It’s tough to be overly critical of this approach - it worked after all, and some great music was birthed from that recording process - but I also can’t help but see it as another example of the way Birdman was careful to always stay in control, reminding everyone on the label he was calling the shots. And if you didn't like it, well, you could either get out or sue him, probably both. Just don't expect him to ever pay up, that's just not the way Cash Money does business.
Lucas Garrison is a writer for DJBooth. His favorite album is College Dropout but you can also tweet him your favorite Migos songs at @LucasDJBooth.