Cash Money’s suggestion box has been flush with fresh complaints from artists on the roster for years now. There was Mannie Fresh and Juvenile’s initial complaints about non-payment and the like, and then every few years more and more of the Cash Money flock would crop up in the news with the same sorts of issues.
When Tyga first called out Cash Money this fall, it seemed like more of the same than an all out implosion of the twenty-year empire. However, when Lil Wayne also came forward and blasted the label that he was so instrumental in developing, HipHopDX and the rest of the Hip Hop world began evaluating the long list of artists Cash Money have seemingly left flapping in the wind. Whether the label has made empty promises of stardom, refused to release albums of artists outside of their headlining acts, or most connivingly, business dealings that include unethical contracts and refusing to pay proper royalties, all eyes were on Baby and Slim for answers.
Tyga’s Twitter outburst unleashed the dialogue and Wayne’s rant solidified it. However, these artists are nowhere near the first to speak out against the all star label. Rather, they joined the likes of Mannie Fresh, Lil Bow Wow and Hot Boys Turk, B.G. and Juvenile of disgruntled artists who have been vocal about their frustrations with Cash Money Records.
Main Complaint: The release of Tha Carter V; Non-payment for Tha Carter V
Weezy’s excellent verse on “Grindin’” and presence on “Believe Me,” followed by the epic Drake Vs. Lil Wayne tour seemed to set the stage for an all out Tunechi resurgence. The announcement of his final solo album as part of his iconic Carter series with contribution from his longtime friend and producer Mannie fresh, further cemented a true Lil Wayne restoration. Weezy had electrifying energy on the tour and the promotion for Tha Carter V was heavily in the works, as Wayne continued to release singles in preparation for his October 28 release date. New dates and excuses were given, but it was a few days prior to his second release date of December 9, where Cash Money’s prodigy refused to be reticent any longer. On December 4, Weezy revealed the real hindrance behind the release of the Carter V.
“To all my fans, I want you to know that my album won’t and hasn’t been released bekuz Baby and Cash Money Records refuse to release it.”
“This is not my fault. I am truly and deeply sorry to all my fans but most of all to myself and my family for putting us in this situation.”
“I want off this label and nothing to do with these people but unfortunately it ain’t that easy,” he continued. “I am a prisoner and so is my creativity. Again, I am truly sorry and I don’t blame ya if ya fed up with waiting for me and this album. But thank you.”
Although label reps attempted to placate Lil Wayne’s eruption and assure everyone that YMCMB was still in full effect, those efforts have completely transformed since Weezy released the interim project Sorry 4 the Wait 2. Similar to the first installment, Wayne tries his tongue at some of the year’s most massive records, embodying the flows and vocal tones of the original artists in chameleon-like fashion. Tunechi’s version of “CoCo” was the ferocious opening and provided direct shots at the Cash Money empire.
“Who kept this shit together? Nigga, me, that’s who / Who was there when niggas left us? Nigga, me, that’s who / Cash Money is an army, I’m a one man army / And if them niggas comin’ for me, I’m goin’ out like Tony / Now I don’t want no problems, I just want my money / Ain’t gotta hold no conversation or my luggage / Tell whoever’s countin’ that I’m on a hundred / Birdman Jr., more like Ugly Duckling.”
Wayne proved true to his word, that he is only interested in receiving the money he is owed. This line and sentiment manifested into a $51 million lawsuit against Birdman and Cash Money, petitioning for the discontinuation of his contract, restitution owed for Tha Carter V as well as the rights to Young Money as a separate entity, including its artists. It’s unclear what the outcome will be, but it seems Tha Carter V will be held hostage until further notice.
Main Complaint: The release of The Gold Album; General mismanagement
Tyga also exposed his harbored feelings toward Cash Money Records via Twitter. On October 10, the Young Money emcee wrote, “Gold album been done. my label holding me hostage so i can’t release nothing. might just leak it for my fans then let them make $ off it.” However, it appears Tyga’s Twitter assertion was just the beginning of a candid explosion, first uncovered during an interview with Vibe:
“Nah, I tend to distance myself from them” when asked about Young Money’s involvement in the creative process of The Gold Album. “Yeah, I’m tryna’ go independent. I don’t really get along with Drake. I don’t really get along with Nicki. I don’t like Drake as a person. He’s just fake to me. I like his music; you know what I’m saying? I think his music is good, but we’re all different people. We were forced together and it was kinda like we were forcing relationships together. It is what it is.”
He went on to discuss how those involuntary relationships affected his decision to leave the label.
“I think being signed to Young Money, everybody felt like they had to force a relationship ‘cause Wayne put us together. At the end of the day, the reason why I signed to Young Money is because of Wayne and my relationship with him. I try to be cool with everybody, but sometimes, everybody just has different personalities, motives, and different characters. When you realize that, you realize that’s not a place where you want to continue to grow.”
Perhaps Tyga finally unveiling the problems with Cash Money felt invigorating, as his anger simmered down and he mobilized on the startings of an independent career, planning to release The Gold Album autonomously. During an interview with Power 106 and Chris Brown, Tyga spoke with calm articulation surrounding his estrangement from YMCMB. “As an artist, what we do creatively should never be imprisoned, and at the end of the day, we do it to bring it to the fans. It’s not a selfish thing, it’s just not fair to the fans.”
Although, the William’s brothers don’t seem to be letting Tyga go independent that easily. With a new promised release date of January 27, Tyga shared January 21, that the album is pushed back once again. “The gold album won’t be released the 27th still fightin with Label on my release. But will keep u guys updated.”
Year: 90s – 2012
Main Complaint: Not being paid; Not being respected by Cash Money
Mannie Fresh went from being Cash Money’s sole-producer and beatmaking sensation to the label’s outcast, fighting intensely for royalties of the music he created. His production was instrumental in launching the careers of Hot Boy members, while he at one time was singularly producing all of their solo and group work. In 2012, Mannie Fresh explained exactly where he stood with Cash Money Records and previous groupmate and CEO Birdman.
“It was one time and now we back at that point. That’s where we are right now.” Mannie Fresh responded to VLADTV when asked about money issues with Cash Money. “And I wish it didn’t have to be that way, but its gotta be that way. Even prior to now and us speaking, they still selling music thats got my name on it and as an artist, ima always want it, that’s mine, that’s earned, that’s deserved. So you know, it’s kinda crazy that we always go back and forth through this whole little me asking y’all to do something that y’all should wanna do.” When asked about mending fences with the label, Mannie responded, “I don’t think so. I did think that at one time, but I feel like it won’t ever be that. Because I think there’s a level of respect… you wouldn’t have existed if I didn’t do what I did.”
Then, the talks of a Big Tymers reunion album without Mannie Fresh?
Just a year following Mannie’s statements and a decade after his departure from the label, Lil Wayne announced the blueprints of a new Big Tymers album, featuring himself, Drake and Birdman. When Birdman also confirmed the news and the exclusion of Mannie Fresh, Fresh weighed in with Sway on RapFix to discuss the absurdities of a future Big Tymers album without his participation.
“I mean, I don’t bash Birdman, Cash Money, none of them. It’s really on, I’m still striving on just getting what I deserve and put in. So maybe that’s what his feelings is or whatever, but honestly, I think Drake is a great artist, I think Wayne is a great artist, but, they’re not the Big Tymers. It’s kinda like doing a Jackson 5 album with Boyz II Men. Two different eras, great artists, but Boyz II Men is not Jackson 5… You can call it whatever you wanna call it, but you can’t call it a Big Tymers’ album.”
Sway then inquired about the specifics of the initial fallout from his Cash Money family and home. “At the time, we was young. I don’t think business practices, things that was going on, it wasn’t expected to blow as big as it did. And when it happened, a lot of things were revealed, things happen or whatever. Like I said, I been saying this all along, that’s all I’m striving for is to get what I deserve… I’m too old to be making diss songs, I’m too wise to be making shots at anybody. But my thing is, I’m a businessman at the end of it.”
Tensions appeared to have cleared between Fresh and CM and collaborations have been underway. Although no specific word was given of his financial grievances, Mannie reunited with Lil Wayne and reportedly handled some production on Tha Carter V.
Main Complaint: Not releasing Underrated; Perceived mismanagement
Lil Bow Wow’s career has certainly been a rollercoaster of redirection, name changes and new business ventures. Although his musical presence had drifted slightly by ‘09, it still made sense when Bow Wow announced signing with Cash Money to release his forthcoming album Underrated. However, it didn’t take long for him to fall into the CM hamster wheel, continuing to push back release dates despite producing a substantial amount of music. Underrated received many tentative dates between ‘09 and ‘12, but after the three year limbo, Bow Wow decided to speak up.
On August 15, Bow Wow unveiled his suppressed frustration with the label through Twitter.
“Doing everything on my own. No help from nobody. Going to radio dolo going to da clubs fuk’n wit dj’s dolo. So when i win im thankn myself”
“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..”
“on tour my shows is sell’n out. Im able to feed my fam and do what i do. Thats whats important. Dis album has fallen to 9th place on my list”
However, Bow Wow apparently resolved his issues with Cash Money and ending up clearing the air with DJ Whoo Kid in a later interview. Now known as Shad Moss, Underrated is still TBA and Shad remains represented on the Cash Money roster.
Main Complaint: Money; Mismanagement; Trust Issues
B.G. has been dealing with financial struggles with Cash Money for over ten years. Despite being a major contributor to the label prior to its Universal merge and extremely lucrative following, B.G. departed from Cash Money Records in 2002, only two years after the success of Chopper City in the Ghetto and Checkmate. B.G. reflected on the drama and Birdman’s manipulative ways that same year.
“I didn’t know no better. I looked up to them and respected them. I felt like they wouldn’t do me like that, but I was wrong. [Baby] calls himself the Birdman, but he wants to birdfeed me. It’s cool, you fucked me over and I learned my lesson. It’s time for me to move on.”
Nearly nine years later, B.G. echoed who the real culprit was amongst his tensions with Cash Money.
“At the end of the day, the Hot Boys never really had problems amongst each other, everybody who left always had problems with one particular person behind business that ain’t go well. When I was lashing out, and venting and speaking my mind, he (Wayne) just got caught up in the shuffle. But that been my little brother, he’s like a brother from another mother. I’m a Hot Boy for life….at the end of the day it wasn’t about the money, I was hurt by the way he played me,” B.G. confessed in an interview with Cheddar TV in 2011.
And, of course, the members of Cash Money weren’t exactly helping themselves, either. Do you remember when Turk explained how he got B.G. started on shooting heroin?
“Nah. Actually man, I was shooting heroin and cocaine, and I introduced B.G. to shooting heroin and cocaine. We was on the Cash Money/Ruff Ryders tour. B.G. had been getting high; I had been getting high. In New Orleans, Uptown, that’s the drug of choice, heroin. You got kids, 12, 13-years-old on heroin. As I was coming up, people glorified it like they do mollies today. They say “pop a molly, I’m sweating,” they rap about it and this and that. Soulja Slim, who was Magnolia Slim at the time, used to rap about heroin all the time. Partners-N-Crime also had a song about heroin. And that was the song. And the girls used to always say they want the dope dick. So [I was like], “Shit, let me go on ahead and snort me a bag of heroin and fuck this bitch all night.” That’s what influenced us to do it.”
Main Complaint: Compensation; Trust Issues
Juvenile’s story was much like his fellow Hot Boys brothers, disheartened by the extortion that Cash Money perpetuated of many of their early stars. As late as 2012, Juve affirmed his chagrin with his original label during a sit-down with Complex, despite releasing a record with Lil Wayne and Birdman just weeks later.
“My reason [to leave Cash Money] is the same reason most artists leave their label—money. When you put in that much work, you should be compensated for it. I’m number one on this station, number one on that station so I checked the contracts and went back over the paperwork. I was naïve in the beginning, I didn’t want anybody telling me anything because, hey, you didn’t help me get this situation and you’re on the outside. I should’ve listened because they had me in a contract that I’d still be in. There was no future for me in the contract.”
Juvenile continued to discuss the progression of his enlightenment, coming to terms with the bamboozlement and pursuing legal avenues.
“So I went, ‘Well, damn. I’m working like a slave and I’m getting nothing.’ So I got an entertainment lawyer and found out Cash Money weren’t who they said they were with me. One thing led to another and I said, ‘Pay me this and we’re cool’. They ain’t pay us and we went to court. They lost in court. Simple as that.”
“I had to do all that to get money that I earned. I kind of paved the way for all that you got going on right now. If you were gonna pay anybody, me and Mannie should be the first two people the check was cut to. Mannie is still trying to get his money right now, it’s crazy.”
Juve even shared feelings of Cash Money swindling Lil Wayne and Young Money.
“If you notice the Young Money/Cash Money imprint, some of the stuff that need to say Young Money don’t say Young Money. I know Baby and I know Ronald [“Slim” Williams]. They ain’t giving up power of their company. They don’t care how big Wayne gets, they not giving up. If I didn’t getting it, he ain’t getting it… If you go off of who could benefit most at the end of the day, in my book I feel like I’ve lost everything. They won. These niggas ate off the house I built.”
Shockingly to Juvenile, Ice Cube, who he had no prior relationship with, reached out to the former Hot Boy and lent financial support.
“When the hurricane [of Cash Money drama] hit, Ice Cube sent me $50,000 and I don’t even know Ice Cube. You know why? Because I was going through the same exact thing he went through [with N.W.A.].”
Juvenile’s statements in 2012 made it all the more shocking of his resigning to Cash Money in 2014. Nevertheless, as Juve explained, you gotta start where you finish.
Year Of Complaint: 2001
Main Complaint: Baby’s ruthlessness business sense. Lack of support following prison sentence
Turk also parted ways from Cash Money after the dissolution of the Hot Boys in the early millenium, although far more peacefully than Mannie, Juve and B.G. However, after being incarcerated in 2005 and serving nearly nine years in Federal prison, Turk was released to not only endure the tragic death of his father, but complete isolation from his Cash Money/Hot Boy family.
In 2013, Turk provided a statement to Allhiphop about his relationship with the Cash Money bosses and affiliates.
“I been calling texting you niggas and ain’t receive no call bacc…I’m through trying to make you niggas look real. When my lil brother got killed I had to bury him out of my attorney fee$ money and now it happend again with my daddy and I have bury him by myself with no help from you so called FRIENDS.”
The agonized statement stemmed from a YouTube video Turk created after his father’s passing to directly take shots at the original Cash Money camp.
“Baby, Slim, Wayne, Mannie Fresh, all you niggas claim y’all my homeboys, I been reaching out to y’all niggas, aint nobody respond. My daddy got killed, y’all know what it is, y’all look at the news… it ain’t no love lost, I’m real, I can’t make a nigga be real, but it is what it is. Y’all showed me on too many occasions. Right now this the last straw.”
A year later, Turk reiterated his feelings, that although there was no beef, a Hot Boy reunion was out of the question, despite that being his original plan when he was released from prison.
In an interview with us here at HipHopDX, also in 2013, Turk had this to say about Birdman’s “ruthless” business practices.
“Me, Wayne, Mack Maine, Gudda, we all did songs. But, as far as me signing with anybody, I’m independent right now until somebody comes correct with the big check. I felt like I got the short end of the stick on my deal when I was younger. But now I know. People die from a lack of knowledge. When we don’t know, we got to suffer for that. So I felt like that was my trials and tribulations for me to go through that to make me into the person that I am today. Some people might call it ruthless and hard. But, it’s business.”
Through all the complaints over the years and the incredible success of Cash Money Records, it makes you wonder, why doesn’t Birdman pay his artists?