In an interview with Syracuse Scholar in Residence Boyce Watkins, New Orleans rapper Dee-1 explains passing on a deal offered to him by Cash Money Records several years ago.
Initially speaking about his 2009 track “Jay, 50, and Weezy” in which he imagines a political dialogue with the three rappers, Dee-1 went on to share the story of being courted to sign to Cash Money after the release.
“Cash Money has so many members who are either directly or indirectly affiliated with them,” he said before explaining the lack of reaction to the song. “No one whose path I crossed ever directly confronted me about the song in a negative way because to be honest with you they know that everything I say is true. Everything. You have to understand that it’s a type of culture over there to where just because you’re onboard, just because you’re on that ship, that don’t mean you agree with everything that the captain of that ship is doing. You know? So there’s people who are over there who probably deep down agree with what I’m saying but they might not be the ones to speak up because they might have a paycheck on the line. They have their livelihood on the line. If you go against the boss, you might fool around and not have a job or you might not have that salary that you get paid that supports your family.
“But me, I’m not tied into that,” he went on. “I have good relationships with several members of Cash Money. The interesting part about this is a little bit after I put the song out, few months, they actually reached out to me. Not Lil Wayne directly but Slim, who, you know, there’s Baby and Slim who are the CEOs of Cash Money. Slim reached out and me and Slim were talking back and forth for several months. They were trying to sign me to Cash Money. He flew me to Miami. Put me up in a hotel. Put me in a studio where they do all their recording. It’s crazy…through of all my being in the city with them, being at the studio where they record, when I tell you I never directly, through me talking with Slim on the phone everyday…for like five or six months…I never directly crossed paths with Lil Wayne. Not one time. It’s amazing to me. He was probably in the same studio where they had me doing some recording at. All this type of stuff. I don’t know. I think the fact that I never crossed paths with Lil Wayne while they were kind of courting me to sign with Cash Money, I think it’s a sign that whenever we do finally meet it’s not destined to be just a quick, ‘What’s up man? I’m Dee.’ ‘What’s up I’m Lil Wayne.’ And then we go our separate ways. I think it’s destined to be a real sitdown. A real, ‘Let’s talk. Let’s get coffee real quick…and really talk about some stuff.’ Lord willing I’m really praying that it is the opportunity I get because at this point I know that I’ve been placed in Hip Hop to impact people’s lives. Not just fans, but possibly artists lives as well. Artists who I could wake up and pick their brain and challenge the way they view life and Hip Hop and their platform. I didn’t end up signing with them. Obviously I didn’t sign with them.”
During the interview, the Free Lunch And Sallie Mae rapper explained the decision to not accept the offer.
“It didn’t feel right in my spirit,” he said. “It just didn’t. I couldn’t put my finger on it. It’s not like they weren’t gonna offer me money, of course they were gonna offer me money. Of course I’m not a millionaire. It would have been like, ‘This is cool, I could probably do some good with this.’ I never make decisions solely based on money. I could take a $100 bill and tear it up and then it’s worthless. You can’t do that with your integrity.”