Cash Money Records co-founder Birdman opens up about his empire and music industry hustle with over a decade in the rap game within the new XXL Magazine.
Based on excerpts from his feature, Birdman aka Baby speaks on his company’s aim to not allow corporations to run them to the ground.
“Just how heavy it was, how many different brands you had, how many different artists. Now it’s a new era, really. A lot of the old acts ain’t around no more, of the era when we come in the game. The labels, the corporations, they not supporting the brands. I think one of my biggest things was I been an independent brand. I always owned my own brand. I never been funded by them. It’s P&D deal. I was always able to use my money to do everything we wanted to do, too. So when you bagged up by them and they money, and you ain’t working out… You might have one bad year, and they’ll give up. Things might not balance out. It could be any little thing. Times change, like 9/11, depression. People didn’t wanna f*ck with money like they used to. In my situation, I never had them do that for me. I always floated my own money. We made our own moves.” (XXL Magazine)
Last month, indie rapper Kafani spoke to SOHH about the making it without major support.
“The independent game is pretty good, I mean, anything you do you have to work hard at it,” Kafani told SOHH. “On a major label, you have to work but not as hard. There’s a lot of money that the label is going to put up to get you out there. So when you’re independent, you have to grind much harder to do it. But the thing about it that I like [about] being on the independent side is that you have more freedom to do what you want to do. Everything you’re seeing is my creation and what I”m putting together. I want to be able to be independent and make music the way I want to do it. I was on E-1 Music for a minute and it was cool. It’s an indie label but still had us working off of a major scale so a lot of things that were going on with the project, I didn’t know about. So I like to be kind of hands on with my stuff. At the end of the day, I know what’s best for me.” (SOHH)
Over the winter, fellow Bay Area rapper E-40 said he favored indies over majors.
“You caught up in a deal and a lot of times they’ll water your a** down,” E-40 explained in an interview. “They gonna be chasing a single and water it down. They want to hear a single before they actually start investing their money in you. They’ll sign you but while you working on your album the A&R’s coming in there like ‘We got one!’ Now it could be good if you got a single that caters to the hood and it got crossover appeal, that’s the blessing. But that’s like one of them ones when you hit the lottery. That shit don’t happen all the time. A hit don’t just happen. A hit comes out of nowhere, like a real contractual hit. You can’t force that sh*t. It’s gotta come natural like an afro.” (Hip Hop DX)
After landing on the Forbes’ Top 5 Wealthiest Rappers list recently, Baby questioned the financial publication’s $100 million estimate of his brand.
“I don’t know how they tally up,” Baby said in an interview with Uptown Angela referring to Forbes‘ list.”To my knowledge I thought it was down. They said I made a $100 million dollars. I don’t know where they get that sh*t from. I’m banking in more than a $100 million. That’s a low number for a n*gga like me. But it’s cool. For anybody to recognize anything is respected. We know what to do. The goal in our life and my life is to be a billionaire. I’m flipping hundreds. I ain’t that far. I’m about eight steps.” (Urban Radio NO)
Check out some recent Baby footage below: