Cash Money’s run began humbly and locally, but has since accelerated to impressive heights, owning radio and possessing a roster that is unparalleled in this industry. Lil Wayne skyrocketed the label and has been a key talent scout and A&R, recruiting the likes of Nicki Minaj, DJ Khaled and Drake. Cash Money Records as a subsidiary of Universal is considered one of the leading power player record companies in this industry. On the outside, signing with Cash Money appears to be a champion move, however, with so many major artists on one label, some of the more camouflaged artists receive scarce promotion and are unceremoniously relegated to backing up the stars of the catalog.
Recently, Tyga’s outbursts about the lack of support from Cash Money made waves on the web and began a drastically different but all too familiar dialogue around the superstar record company. This isn’t the first time Cash Money has been accused of mismanagement, financially or otherwise. So as Tyga blasted the YMCMB camp, igniting a war of words by also dissing his labelmates Drake and Nicki Minaj in follow-up interviews, it drudged up more than a few old memories of artists past who also fell down the Cash Money rabbit hole.
Plus, after the public display from Tyga, Lil Twist began to express his frustrations with his Young Money management as well, and that’s not to mention the cold Instagram and Twitter war Tyga and Drake have been engaged in over the past few weeks. With trouble happening in Cash Money’s assumed paradise, HipHopDx took a look at the many artists signed to Cash Money whose albums just never managed to see the light of day. Who knows if Tyga and Lil Twist will be next, but just like the heartbreak hotel, there always seems to be room for one more in the Cash Money album graveyard.
Confirmation Date/Source: November 2011, Confirmed with MTV
Project: E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event) 2: End Of The World
Already manifesting a followup to E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event): The Final World Front, the three-time Grammy-nominated and third studio album from Busta Rhymes, he confirmed a joint deal with Google Music and Cash Money Records in 2011 to MTV during the Google Music Launch Party. Busta cited the extinction-level deal as “the most powerful search engine in the world combining with the most powerful record company in the world.” However, in 2014 during an interview with Sway, Busta declared his split from the label claiming creative differences with no animosity surrounding the departure. Busta Rhymes was adamant that E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event) 2: End Of The World has to be a worthy followup to the legacy of Part 1 and according to him, Cash Money wasn’t enabling his vision to develop it into the passion project Busta Rhymes dreamed of. Also, part of the album’s significance and Busta’s desire for the album to be so stellar, lies in the fact that he lost his longtime friend and manager Chris Lighty to a shocking suicide and his father amidst the four year process of creating the album. E.L.E. 2 is set to release this fall through Busta’s independent label Conglomerate Records.
Confirmation Date/Source: June 2009, News broke by Brian “B-Dot” Miller of RapRadar
Project: A possible home for Free’s label, Free Money
Philly Freezer rose to prominence as an upstart on the Roc-A-Fella offshoot State Property. His 2003 effort, Philadelphia Freeway peaked at the #2 spot on Billboard magazine’s Rap Albums chart. But after the 2004 split between Roc-A-Fella co-founders Jay Z and Damon Dash, Freeway found himself on the independent circuit releasing projects through 101 Distribution and Reel Talk Entertainment. In June of 2009, Freeway told Brian “B-Dot” Miller of RapRadar.com he was hoping to launch his Free Money imprint as a partnership with Cash Money Records based on his previous history with Lil Wayne and Birdman. The partnership never materialized, and Free kept things moving by respectively releasing following projects through Rhymesayers, Babygrande and Team Early Entertainment.
Confirmation Date/Source: August 2009, Tweeted
In 2009, Bow Wow was on a label hunt after leaving Columbia Records and searching for a home for his 8th studio album. Rumors of signing with T.I.’s Grand Hustle Camp were floating around as well as a possible deal with his mentor Jermaine Dupri through the re-launch of So So Def. When neither came to fruition after tweets from Bow Wow himself about the two deals on the table, the Cash Money announcement came as a bit of a curveball, although Shad declared the signing a “no-brainer.” Oddly enough, in August of 2012, Bow Wow took to Twitter to rant about his future “dolo” endeavors, insinuating a harsh, emotional split from the Cash Money label. “Doing everything on my own. No help from nobody. Going to radios dolo going to da clubs dolo fuk’n wit dj’s dolo. So when i win im thankin myself,” Bow Wow tweeted, followed by, “Shit so fucked up maaan.. I swear. Im tryna stay focused but its like at this point “Fuck that album” & Fuck a release date. Im doin shows..” Despite the aggressive shots at CM, Bow Wow clarified in 2012 during an interview with DJ Whoo Kid that he was still on the Cash Money roster, although no album from Bow Wow has been released to date.
Harlem bred and flourishing in the underground battle rap circuit, Jae Millz’s industry career has been a frustrating journey of bench warming at every one of his label homes. Making noise in 2003 with his single “No, No, No” through Warner Bros. and signing to Universal Records in ‘06, then becoming a free agent all without releasing a studio album; the New York emcee seemed to finally have a home in 2008 after Lil Wayne announced at a concert the addition of Jae Millz to the Cash Money camp. Millz has created twenty mixtapes since 2004 and there is still currently no release date for his debut album Nothing Is Promised. When asked about the dynamic of Cash Money in a sit down with Jenny Boom Boom, Jae Millz responded with, “So you think Nicki and Cory Gunz got the same manager? So you think Drake and Gudda Gudda got the same manager?” After making himself laugh over the preposterous question, Millz changed his tone and demonstrated his loyalty by stating, “We all grew up under that Wayne umbrella and I trust that umbrella.” Nothing Is Promised has been in the works for years and only time will tell if the album will ever receive promotion from Cash Money Records or if it will only serve as a haunting theme for Jae Millz’s second string career.
Confirmation Date/Source: March 2013, Gudda Gudda gave details on the expected album in a HipHopDX interview
Project: Guddaville: The Album
Gudda Gudda built a name for himself after the impressive mixtape run with the New Orleans group Sqad Up. A lifelong friend of Lil Wayne, Gudda Gudda has been a part of YMCMB since its inception in 2005, maintaining his relevance through the Guddaville brand generated through mixtape installments. He’s been very vocal about continuing in the Guddaville lane for his debut, naming it simply, Guddaville: The Album. In an interview with HipHopDX, Gudda Gudda specified that the Guddaville 4 mixtape would preface the album for a 2013 release. Far into 2014, Guddaville 4 is still “coming soon” and no new information has been presented despite a year long gap between his verbal plan and initial press surrounding the album. Also, already confirmed to be featured on Tha Carter V and making steady appearances on collective Young Money and Cash Money projects, Gudda Gudda may just be content with his mixtape career, consistent and taciturn under the Cash Money umbrella.
All $tar/ Starlito
Confirmation Date/Source: February, 2008, New York Times Interview
Project: Debut album Streetball
All$tar broke in the doors of Nashville Hip Hop after the city finally received some recognition for their talent following Young Buck’s signing to G-Unit. Joining forces with Yo Gotti, All $tar became Cash Money’s newest addition when Yo Gotti’s Inevitable Entertainment signed a production deal with Cash Money Records. All $tar’s first and biggest single “Grey Goose” made its rounds in 2005, where he proudly declared his new position with Cash Money and his career seemed bright with an epic team behind him. But when ‘06 and ‘07 failed to produce his debut album Streetball, $tarlito’s Way II came instead in 2008 and the mixtape addressed the frustrations of a dream deferred. “I wanted the the fame, plus I wanted the chain / Plus I wanted the check, you woulda done the same,” All $tar spits regretfully. Still with a heavy presence in the mixtape realm, All $tar is now independent and Streetball can officially be chalked up to a what if.
Confirmation Date/Source: 1995, left to join G-Unit, Lil Wayne announced that he was returning to Cash Money at a concert in 2008, but nothing came from it
Young Buck began his career with Cash Money in 1995, although he was never featured on any projects and did not release music through the record label. Most notably known for his participation in G-Unit, Buck became a part of the team after Tony Yayo’s imprisonment in 2003 and right in time with the group’s debut Beg For Mercy. Infamously being kicked out of G-Unit in ‘08, Buck was still being represented by G-Unit records, but explicitly being credited as a “featured artist” on their second album T.O.S: Terminate On Sight. With inevitable beef brewing between himself and 50 Cent, it wasn’t long before the Tennessee rapper would completely cut ties with the G-Unit entity. Lil Wayne yelling gloriously at a concert in Young Buck’s hometown in 2008 about the former G-Unit member’s return to YMCMB, felt like the genuine re-opening of something great. But the vibrant dialogue between Wayne and Birdman on stage that night was just smoke and mirrors, ann much like his initial run with the label in 1995, no album manifested.
Confirmation Date/Source: 2004
Project: Emotional Roller Coaster
Keke Wyatt emerged on the scene at fifteen, featured in a duet with Avant titled “My First Love.” From there, her debut album Soul Sista went platinum in 2001 and Emotional Rollercoaster was slated to be her sophomore follow up. Cash Money snatched up the rising R&B singer and planned a 2005, but it seems her entire album was “lost” during or in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. After her first single from the project “Put Your Hands On Me” failed to chart, Emotional Rollercoaster was subsequently shelved by Cash Money and Keke Wyatt was released out of her contract claiming “management problems.” Finding her third home at TVT Records to release her third album Ghetto Rose, the record company ended up filing for bankruptcy and Wyatt’s album was again absolved.
Confirmation Date/Source: June 2009, Billboard
B2K’s frontman Omarion remained relevant after the disbanding of his group by steadily releasing solo albums, collaborating with Bow Wow and starring in mid-major films. In 2009, and in preparation for his third studio album Ollusion, it was confirmed in early June that Omarion was the newest member of the Young Money imprint. A Twitter exchange from Tyrese congratulating the singer on Twitter sparked the initial line of questioning about his signing, although it wasn’t long before those rumors shifted to the drop of Omarion from Cash Money Records. Label President Mack Maine tweeted in August of that same year: “ATTN: Omarion is no longer Young Money … the song they leaked ft. Wayne is not official .. good luck to him in his future.” This directly followed Omarion’s release of a record with Lil Wayne. Young Money artist Jae Millz Re-Tweeted Mack Maine’s message as further validation of Omarion’s departure. Omarion then became slammed with press insinuating an immediate drop from the major label, but the singer/actor utilized Twitter to clear the issue up: “released, I didn’t get dropped. I wish wayne and all of Y.m good luck for there future. There r no hard feelings ,business is business.” He then dotted the media circuit addressing the quick turnaround rate from Young Money and attempted to counter the brutal dropped rumors by declaring his exodus purely a “personal decision.”
Confirmation Date/Source: Never signed with Cash Money, expressed that he wanted to after leaving Def Jam
Shyne has had several unfortunate events plague his career throughout the years. His initial signing with Bad Boy records in 1998 was short-lived after being involved in the infamous 1999 shooting in a Manhattan club alongside Diddy and Jennifer Lopez. Shyne served nine out of his ten-year sentence for attempted murder, assault and reckless endangerment. Nonetheless, labels were still interested in the Belize emcee and Def Jam signed the rapper behind bars and aided him in releasing his second album Godfather Buried Alive. In 2011, Lil Wayne enlisted Shyne for Tha Carter IV, single-handedly reviving his career as he shared credits on the “Outro” with Wayne, Bun B, Nas and Busta Rhymes. Shyne told XXL “I owe a lot to Wayne for putting me on that record. That was a man gesture on his part, just taking me from the ashes.” Shyne also shared that Birdman had visited him prior to his release from prison and expressed interest in bringing him into the YMCMB camp. Still tied to Def Jam, Shyne planned to release one project through their distribution company and potentially Messiah through Cash Money. However, “Messiah” turned into a single and the Cash Money deal never materialized.
Confirmation Date/Source: November 2011, Hot 97’s Miss Info
Mystikal’s last album, Tarantula, was produced in 2001 and he has yet to make a musical comeback despite signing with Cash Money in 2011. At the beginning of his career, Mystikal was in competition with fellow New Orleans rapper Lil Wayne and the two frequentlydissed each other on records. The hatchet has since been buried and Mystikal joined Cash Money just a year after being released from incarceration, serving six years for sexual battery and extortion. Almost immediately, Mystikal debuted himself alongside Lil Wayne and Birdman with his single “Original,” also dubbed as the title of his upcoming album. However, there is no release date for Original the album and Mystikal remains another rapper on the famed Cash Money roster with little to no music to show for it.