The Fall of the Empire: Lil Wayne Wants Out of Cash Money

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“When I was little, wanted to be a Hot Boy,” Rich Homie Quan exclaims on the song "Cash Money," and I dare you to find a southern gentleman born after 1989 that didn’t feel the same way. The Hot Boys was our N 'Sync, you couldn’t be a young man down south and not idolize Juvy, Turk, BG and Lil Wayne. Even when the group split, Cash Money’s legacy couldn’t be tarnished by a few unpaid royalties. There was just too much history, people were too invested in the music that came from the label. This was especially true for the new generation of listeners that watched Wayne shoulder the responsibilities of being the flagship artist and flourished on a level that no oracle could have foresaw. Wayne stood by Birdman when no one would, at every chance voicing his admiration, always giving the impression that it was a family affair and that they were thick as Somali pirates. There’s even a collaboration album to prove their undying love for each other. So it pains me to see Wayne spill family business on this languorous Wednesday afternoon when he tweeted:

I thought Wayne only used his Twitter to promote singles and talk about football? For him to feel so outraged, that he had to "tweet through it" is out of character. His tweets reminded me of Tyga’s public disapproval of his label situation with Young Money months prior where he said, “my label holding me hostage so I can’t release nothing.” I didn’t care much; my anticipation for Tyga’s album is equivalent to my anticipation for a new season of Love & Hip-Hop, nonexistent. Tyga's buzz is barely noteworthy, the album shelving isn’t a shock, but that's not the case with Wayne. Even without radio, his name alone is going to move units. He isn’t the most anticipated, December 9 is officially J.Cole’s day, but this has been the best year for releases from Weezy in sometime, even if he didn’t conquer Billboard or Soundscan. Fans were eating up the possibility that Carter V would be the return that's been long waited. I even wrote about how I found my faith in him again…

As I write this though, my thoughts are going in a billion directions. I used to believe that announcing Carter V as Wayne’s last album was a publicity stunt, an extra spotlight to shine on this album. But what if this was Wayne’s way of parting with Cash Money? Retirement. That the situation was becoming unbearable, but due to contracts, or possibly loyalty, or both, he wanted to end with a big bang. Remember when Yung Thug vaguely confessed he planned on continuing the Carter Series? "He did 1 to 5, I'm gonna do 6 to 10," he said. I assumed he was carrying the torch, we know that Thug’s entire being is influenced by Dwayne Carter, but what if we’re witnessing a doppelganger replacing the original? Cash Money is a label where the young reign, they mold you early. Look how they used Wayne up, benefited from his best years, and now possibly treating him like Old Yella, before pulling the trigger are already benefiting from a new dog on their short leash. Rich Gang is being treated as their future, like furniture, out with the old and in with the new.

Cash Money

is not alright.

This is all speculation of course, and Wayne’s discourse is getting much more attention than any of his singles. Controversy creates buzz, a wild fire, enough to get ample coverage for an album that's so far received underwhelming press. It’s a dirty trick, but labels aren’t sincere. They want the biggest payday, period. The Carter V push has been weak, there hasn't been any videos released, and the single releases were more Russian roulette than strategic planning. This isn't the treatment of a star. As a Wayne fan, he’s been the Kobe Bryant of Cash Money. He’s won championships with them and dealt with losing seasons, and no matter the offer, he never faltered and jumped ship. So it's crazy to think that on December 4, the day that Sean Carter was born, Lil Wayne seems to want off the label. Imagine if he would’ve signed to the Roc all those years ago, where would Wayne be? There was one point, Wayne could’ve went to any label in the world, and been treated like royalty. He grew up on Cash Money, since the age of 12; he evolved and matured under their wing.

Tyga called the music industry “a devils playground,” and Cash Money/Young Money is burning. Where does Nicki stand? Remember the rumors that Drake was unhappy? When Wayne was locked away they kept the lights on and bellies fed. When questioned about the Tyga situation, Birdman said, "I'm family oriented, either you're in or you're out", and it seems the treasured son might be ready to part ways with the family. This may get messy.

If nothing else comes from this ordeal though, Pusha T has given us the most memorable response. So we've got that going for us, which is nice. 

[By Yoh, aka Stuntin Like Yoh Daddy, aka @Yoh31]