From stealing publishing from artists to the avalanche of lawsuits to $100,000 Madden games, Cash Money’s history sounds more like a season of Empire than a real life record label. But when it comes to the house that Birdman built, nothing can be considered too unlikely to be real, even the possibility he tried to kill his biggest act after a contract dispute.
Remember when Lil Wayne’s tour bus was shot up in April of last year and Birdman and Young Thug were indicted on charges? I won't blame you if you barely recall it because somehow that story went vastly under-reported. Maybe it was just too hard to believe that one of the biggest record labels in hip-hop would try to kill their biggest money maker?
Even as an official Cash Money tin-foil hat wearer, I don’t think I spent enough time simply saying, “Holy shit, could Birdman have tried to kill Weezy?” But while fans and bloggers may have moved on, for Wayne the shooting, feud and imprisoned album is evidently very much still on his mind.
Normally we avoid posting snippets of songs from crowded clubs with questionable sound quality, but when Wayne previewed a new track in a Milwaukee nightclub (he was flying back from Milwaukee when he suffered those seizures) some of the lyrics jumped out at me. Any idea that Birdman and Wayne are currently on friendly terms just went up in smoke as Weezy shifted into full on Tupac comparison mode:
“Niggas tried to 2Pac me”
“I’m the life guard of the trap / I done seen so many shark attacks / Life is too short for the mat”
“Free The Carter 5″
That's the first time we've really heard Wayne refer to the shooting, he previously seemed to brush it off, and while “I done seen so many shark attacks” sounds like a relatively generic thing for a rapper to say, it made me think about a story Mikkey Halsted shared with me about his time at Cash Money:
“Wild shit would always happen with them. It would scare most people away, to see the kind of shit that we was dealing with. They had what they would call an artist bus and then they would have what they called a shark bus, which was a bus full of ex-convicts, people that were newly home from jail. And if you on good terms with them, then you would ride the artist bus. If you were on bad terms with them, then you would be riding the shark bus.“ - Mikkey Halsted: Kanye Almost Signed to Cash Money, Birdman Threatened to Kill Me
Regardless of whether Wayne explicitly had the shark bus in the mind when he wrote that line, and frankly I doubt he did, it's yet another reminder of the very real culture of violence and intimidation that has surrounded the label since it's very beginning, and while the saga of Tha Carter V's non-release has been well documented and discussed, I'm willing to bet that time will reveal just a much deeper and darker story behind this shooting than we know now.
Just another day in the world of Cash Money Records, where dreams come true...until they become nightmares.