When Rick Ross aired out Birdman on Rather You Than Me standout "Idols Become Rivals," it was clear his words held more weight than those traditionally found on a diss track. This was rap beef with a purpose.
In defending his close friend and colleague Lil Wayne, whose Tha Carter V album has been in label purgatory for since 2014, Ross' delivered a scathing shot at the Cash Money CEO, whose business practices have been shady since before Eminem became Slim.
Catholic record labels, niggas gettin' raped, boy / Birdman's a priest, moans in his synagogue / Publishin' is a sin, repent, forgive me, Lord
In an interview with Billboard the day after the album was released, Birdman responded to Ross' Black Metaphor-produced single in a rather flippant manner. "I don’t get caught up in hoe sh*t, man," he said.
By itself, a Rick Ross diss record isn't going to serve as a change agent for how Birdman conducts his business, but it appears his bars have had a positive influence on young, independent artists.
On Monday (March 20), a rapper named C Fresh tweeted Ross, commending him for "Idols Become Rivals" and expressing a desire to sign his publishing over to MMG. In response, Ross told the rapper to "keep your publishing" because "this not Cash Money."
Without turning this story into a lesson plan for indie artists, it's important to note that a record label usually only owns the song itself, while the publishing is a completely separate entity. Some labels have a music publishing arm, but artists are typically best served by having an outside company oversee their publishing. I have not been privy to any specific details found inside a Cash Money record contract, but if Birdman stipulates that all artists sign over their publishing, with or without a nice advance, he's doing them a giant disservice.
As Ross displayed in his response to C Fresh, there's at least one good reason why.