New Orleans is known as one of the most culturally rich cities in the United States. From jazz and R&B to Dixieland and bounce, the music scene in the Big Easy is unmatched.
Without a doubt, Cash Money Records is one of the city’s biggest success stories in the latter part of the 20th century, a cornerstone of Southern Hip-Hop.
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The label was founded by brothers Ronald “Slim” Williams and Bryan “Birdman” Williams in 1991, with the name inspired by the fictional “Cash Money Brothers (CMB)” gang depicted in the classic film New Jack City.
With early acts such as Kilo G and U.N.L.V., Cash Money would make a name for themselves on the independent music scene. That would lead to a landmark multi-million-dollar deal with Universal Records and their official introduction to the mainstream. With artists such as Juvenile, Lil Wayne, B.G. and more, Cash Money Records made it their mission to “take over for the ’99 and the 2000” and beyond.
This is the house that Cash Money built. Scroll for more!
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Cash Money’s first big release under their distribution deal was Juvenile’s third album, 400 Degreez, released in November 1998. With hits such as Ha and Back That Azz Up, the album peaked at #9 on the Billboard 200 and was certified 5x platinum.
Ushering in the era of “bling,” 1999 saw the success of four Cash Money releases: Juvenile’s Tha G-Code, the Hot Boys’ Guerrilla Warfare, B.G.’s Chopper City in the Ghetto, and Lil Wayne’s Tha Block Is Hot. Each of those albums were certified platinum, further solidifying the label’s dominance at the turn of the millennium.
3. EARLY 2000s
The label would continue to find major success at the start of the 21st century, selling 7 million records between 2001 and 2003 and landing two Grammy nominations for the Big Tymers’ hit, “Still Fly.” However, there would also be a bit of turmoil, as B.G. and Juvenile left the label in 2002, citing “financial mismanagement.” [Juvenile would briefly re-sign to release 2003’s Juve The Great.] Cash Money would soldier on with releases from Birdman, Mannie Fresh, Teena Marie, and, of course, Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter and Tha Carter II.
4. LATE 2000s
With Lil Wayne firmly established as the flagship artist of Cash Money (and yet another smash album, Tha Carter III), he was officially named president of the label in 2007. However, it would be brief, as he stepped down later that year to focus on his recording career. In 2008, he would resign with the label, continuing his dominance in Hip-Hop.
The latter part of the 2000s saw the rise of Cash Money’s subsidiary, Young Money Entertainment. Established four years earlier, 2009 marked their official introduction with the We Are Young Money compilation, featuring signees Mack Maine, Tyga, Lil Twist, and the label’s two biggest acquisitions, Nicki Minaj and Drake.
6. EARLY 2010s
The early 2010s saw continued success and continued drama for Cash Money. On one hand, we saw the releases of Wayne’s Tha Carter IV and standout albums from Drake, Nicki, DJ Khaled and more. On the other hand, we also saw the beginning of a very public and bitter falling out between Lil Wayne and Birdman.
In January 2015, Weezy filed a $51 million lawsuit against Birdman and Cash Money, claiming mismanagement. He also boldly declared his intent to leave the label and that he’s taking Drake and Nicki Minaj with him. The discord would lead to the delay of Tha Carter V and a drive-by shooting on Wayne’s tour bus in April of that year. It was alleged that Birdman plotted the shooting with Young Thug, who signed to Cash Money one year earlier.
8. PRESENT DAY
Today, over 30 years after its founding, Cash Money is still going strong with recent signees such as Jacquees, Blueface, and 9lokkNine, as well as the return of veteran acts Juvenile, Turk, and the recently-resigned B.G. With a combined 12 #1 albums on the Billboard 200, 8 #1 singles on the Hot 100 and millions of records sold, Cash Money made its mark as one of the most successful labels of the 2000s-2010s…with no signs of slowing down any time soon.