Yell, kick, scream, throw bitch fits all you must, but the truth is the truth. Cash Money Records has been the most successful business venture of its kind for a long, long time. No Limit’s tank ran out of gas. The R.O.C. crumbled. Bad Boy manages to stay afloat, but that’s mainly due to Diddy’s image. Def Jam has seen more than its fair share of negative press in recent years and still finds itself coming to grips with Shakir Stewart’s death. Meanwhile, Grand Hustle comes and goes with T.I.’s legal dealings. The point being is this. No label matches the longevity and mainstream success of this New Orleans conglomerate.
Years before Drake and Nicki Minaj helped lead the charge for the current era of its artists, the label had modest beginnings disguised with taunts of wealth from the days when their wardrobes consisted of nothing more than white tees. And for those who grew up with CMR, it’s those days which appreciate in value as time marches by.
Not long ago, a local DJ had a set on the radio and ran through a good 30 consecutive minutes of hits from the brainchild of Baby and Slim. More than anything, it was a refresher course in the records that helped leave indelible marks on my middle and high school, college, grad school and present day life. One song that stuck out was “Big Ballin'” by the Big Tymers. Maybe not the greatest MC’s New Orleans ever offered the world, Mannie Fresh and Stunna were two of the more entertaining. Newcomers to Cash Money’s lineage will recognize the hook as the inspiration from Weezy and Gucci Mane’s “Steady Mobbin’.” The video and all its classic New Orleans trademarks ran parallel to how CMR was actually formed – from the ground up. The occasional flashy car is seen, but for the most part true to life N.O. residents, crawfish and a humbling tribute to the bounce music associated with the area quarterback what broadcasted to the world in 1998.
As it stands, Mannie Fresh draws comparisons to Tex Winter as he will probably always fail to receive the widespread recognition for what he meant to the development of all the Cash Money artists (including Wayne) as well as the sound of Southern music as a whole. And, as left field as this next statement may read (especially with their unrelenting barrage of lawsuits), Birdman’s business savvy has proof in his résumé. Has he burned bridges? Of course, but any businessman who enjoys 10+ years of success will tell you it’s impossible to avoid stepping on toes or developing a bad rep in some circles. The sh*t just happens, but the checks continue to mount and the brand continues to expand. So what do you think speaks louder?
On paper, another Big Tymers album sounds appealing but would likely result in a cluster*ck of styles and forced chemistry. It’s why, like I said earlier, those familiar with this point in Cash Money’s maturation harbor these moments as their glory years. Funny thing is however, when Baby declared “Cash Money Records gon’ run the nation with these hits,” even his overly cocky, sinister ass probably had no clue whatsoever it would be for this long.