To celebrate two decades of success in the music industry, Cash Money co-founders and brothers Brian "Birdman" Williams and Ronald "Slim" Williams sat down with Billboard to discuss the past, the present and the future of their label.
Most publications will probably run with Birdman's quote about Lil Wayne's forever-delayed Tha Carter V album ("Wayne my son, and it’s just that simple. Carter V definitely coming out, though."), but we've heard that same song and dance for months.
The most interesting back-and-forth during Birdman and Slim's conversation with Billboard's Dan Rys came when the pair was asked about the 2003 break-up of the Hot Boys, the Cash Money supergroup consisting of Lil Wayne, B.G., Juvenile and Turk that put the label on the map.
"Once they left, we just took it upon ourselves, and I really knew it was gonna be all about Wayne," said Birdman. "It wasn't gonna be about me no more at that point. I wanted to put it all on him, let him take over and do his thing. 'Cause he was young, and I knew he really, really had it out of all them anyway. We built him for what he's doing and what he did. And he just took the sh-t and ran with it."
According to Slim, the label was forced to shift their full time and attention to Wayne, after Juvenile and Mannie Fresh both expressed an interest in venturing out on their own.
"Once they left, I was like, f--k 'em, I'ma do me, let them do them," Birdman continued. "It was fun in the beginning, but it ended up being pain at the end for them. 'Cause they ain't last, not one of them; any n---a that left, they ain't last at all."
Although Birdman's assessment of his former artist roster is harsh, it's also true. Away from Cash Money, Juvenile, B.G. (who was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison in 2012 for gun possession and witness tampering) and Turk never saw the same success again.
Then again, in hindsight, if given the opportunity, it's likely Wayne would have opted to also leave Cash Money. After all, it's better to be a free agent than a prisoner.