Two former Cash Money Records artists, Stone and Lac (now collectively known as The D-Boyz), spoke to HipHopDX recently, sharing their reasonings for leaving the label, their history as uncredited contributors to some of the label's biggest hits, and their upcoming debut as a duo.
“It just wasn’t poppin’ for me there,” says Lac of his six-year stint with Cash Money from 1997 to 2003. “It was an experience, but experience and nothin’ happening can’t work for me. My overhead too high.”
Although he filled coveted cameo spots on prominent label releases from the Big Tymers (1998’s How You Luv That, 2000’s I Got That Work and 2002’s Hood Rich), Lil Wayne (2002’s 500 Degreez) and The Hot Boys (2003’s Let ‘Em Burn), an album of his own was never pushed to priority on the Cash Money calendar.
“I felt like shit, this time that I’m investing for somebody else I could be doing this for myself,” he recalls of his motivations for leaving the label. “So I fell back and was like I’ma go do something else. But the music shit just stuck with me. So I stayed at it. And then Stone left [Cash Money], and we click clack. So we got together.”
Having appeared alongside Lac on “Put That Shit Up” from Hood Rich and “We Can Never Be Friends” on Mack 10’s sole solo effort for Cash Money, 2001’s Bang Or Ball, Stone had already built a bond with his brother-from-another which led to the two CMR refugees rolling together as a twosome and forming their own label, D-Boyz Entertainment, in 2004.
“We was waiting for so long,” says Stone of his similar reasoning to that of Lac’s for moving on from Cash Money and starting his own company. “By them having a lot on they plate, it kept putting us on the back burner to wait. We coulda stuck around or we coulda decided to start our own label like we did, and make our own moves. So that’s what we chose to do.”
While the need to succeed and make one’s own moves is adequate reasoning for wanting to abandon all hopes of a major-label distributed project, this writer wanted to know if the often reported bad business practices of Cash Money co-CEO Bryan “Baby” Williams played any role in the D-Boyz departure?
“[Laughs] It’s a hard question to answer,” says Lac. “All I can say [is] it was a hell of an experience for me. But, it was a lesson learned. How they conduct business, I’ll never know because I’ll never understand it. I would say this here, because of Cash Money [I’m] a better business man as well as a better artist. I can say that.”
Stone was far less diplomatic in his response to the question adding, “One day it’ll seem like it’s all love and it’s family, [and] then the next day it seems like it’s a lot of bullshit. [But] as soon as you get mad he’ll show love in some form or fashion and then you’ll kinda like look past it.”
What Stone and Lac were forced to look past more often than not were what should have been their writing credits on several of the label’s biggest hits.
“It was so many songs,” says Lac of his uncredited contributions to Cash Money’s catalogue. “I got a list of ‘em somewhere around here. You know how it go when your paperwork ain’t all the way how it should be.”
In addition to writing the chorus for the Big Tymers 2000 hit “#1 Stunna,” Lac assisted Baby in the construction of many of his verses on albums.
“[I would] be like, ‘No B, don’t say this, say this,’” explains Lac of the writing aid he provided the Birdman. “I did shit like that. I would do things here and there. I didn’t sit down and just write his album. Other people pitched in and did stuff.”
One of those other people who pitched in to help write for Baby was Stone.“But at the end of the day only one person was taking credit for it,” he reminds before explaining what his role once was as his label CEO’s creative well, “I might be in the studio and Baby’ll be writing a song, but I don’t really like how it went, like the shit’ll be wack, and I’ll be like, ‘I’ll write something else,’ and he’ll say that. So at the time it ain’t feel like I just sat there and wrote a verse for him, we was really vibin’ together. [But] it was really [my] input that changed the whole song and the direction.”
Stone and Lac were both called upon to provide the creative direction for the Big Tymers arguably career-saving smash single “Still Fly.”
“[Mannie] Fresh actually called me and Lac in the studio and was like, ‘I’m coming up with the title for our album,’” Stone begins, recalling how he and his partner-in-rhyme penned one the biggest rap records of 2002. “He told us the concept [and that] the album was [going to be called] Hood Rich. We just had to come up with different slang, all the things that would be hood rich. And we laughing about ‘em ‘cause the shit was funny, but at the same time everything was real. Like, ‘Put everything in my momma name.’ Lac [came up with] ‘a quarter-tank of gas.’ So [with the] ‘Still Fly’ chorus I sat there with Fresh and was coming up with that with him. And I think Lac was writing Fresh’s verse. ‘Cause I used to more like write Baby’s verses, help him with [them]. I don’t really look at it as like I wrote a verse and gave it to him and then that’s what he said. It was [more] like I stuck with ‘em ‘til it was finished and I put my input on everything. But I can say I wrote that chorus for ‘Still Fly.’”
While The D-Boyz may have rightful claim to having contributed to a sizable chunk of the Big Tymers albus and Baby’s solo offerings, one Cash Money artist they claim to have no claim to having written for is the one CMR artist most often rumored to be enlisting the aid of ghostwriters, Lil Wayne.
When asked if Gillie Da Kid’s claims of past ghostwriting for Weezy [click to read] were true, Stone replied,“I can’t say that [they are true]. I don’t think nobody wrote for shorty. You never know what happened on some days, but I don’t see nobody writing for shorty. That’s my opinion, I don’t see nobody writing for Wayne. But Gillie and Wayne write the same way. They just walk around the studio [while they come up with their rhymes]. They some lab rats. They write off the top of they dome. And what happened was, I know Wayne used to get a lot of feedback [from Gillie] on that east coast flavor, certain slang that Gillie had he liked, he took it. But I think he took it in a way like if we family we can use each other’s slang. But as far as like who wrote something for somebody, I can’t really speak on that. Only Gillie can speak on that.”
The D-Boyz are still clearly major supporters of their former label-mate Weezy, who reciprocates the love, appearing on the first single, “It’s Your Money” [click to listen], from their long-overdue debut Life of a D-Boy.
The album boasts an assortment of assistance from Cash Money alums (11 in total), including production from Mannie Fresh (“Wipe ‘Em Off,” which Fresh also makes a cameo on), and appearances from Juvenile (“Got To Have It” and “Bricks”), B.G. (“Get Real”), and Jazze Pha (“Work To Move”).
“Everybody came back and showed love,” says Stone. “We ain’t never had to ask none of ‘em twice to do nothin’.”
Not only have The D-Boyz remained in good standing with their former label’s onetime roster, but surprisingly even their onetime boss.
“I just talked to Baby like two weeks ago,” Lac reveals. “I don’t have no beef with nobody.” To which Stone adds,“See we different, we don’t play that playing like we got beef. We from New Orleans. If I had a problem with Baby [for real] I’d grab the shit out of him and smack the piss out of him.”
Life of a D-Boy is due for release this June via D-Boy Entertainment/404 Music.
404 Music, Inc. was founded by Nina K. Easton, who co-founded the historic label, Ichiban Records, which in the late-‘80s and early ‘90s released monumental Hip Hop albums from MC Breed, 95 South, and countless others.
In addition to The D-Boyz, 404’s roster boasts fellow former Cash Money signee Boo (formerly of Boo & Gotti), as well as Southern Hip Hop legend MJG.