Cash Money Records Vows To Release 500 Songs From The Vault
In the ’80s, ’90s, and early 2000s, record labels could largely control what fans heard. Music was recorded, and the best of it…according to artist, producer, or label A&R, anyway… is what the public received in stores or online. Even if a project was promoted through an interview, advertised in a magazine, or previewed with a single, it did not guarantee that anything would follow. In turn, projects like Rakim’s Oh My God sessions recorded at Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment, or O.D.B.’s last days running with Roc-A-Fella Records live in infamy, and fan curiosity. Thanks to technology, plenty of unofficially-released music is now available online, as well as limited edition vinyl, and “bootleg tape” trading. However, many projects truly are guarded in label, artist, and producer “vaults.”
Cash Money Records has been a massive presence in Hip-Hop and the popular music charts for more than 20 years. The label started in 1991 by Bryan “Birdman” Williams and his brother Ronald (aka “Slim”) introduced the world to Lil Wayne, Drake, Nicki Minaj, Juvenile, B.G., Big Tymers, and the Hot Boys. However, the New Orleans-based, Universal Records-backed imprint has also been home, at times, to Teena Marie, Mack 10, Limp Bizkit, and Curren$y, among others. Some of those artists, as well as The Game, Busta Rhymes, Mystikal, Gillie Da Kid, Mikkey Halsted, and Bow Wow, have publicly signed to YMCMB (its fusion with Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment) to never actually deliver an album.
In a February 1 Instragram post, Birdman shared a photo of some of C.M.R.’s vaulted reels. In the post, the rapper/executive formerly known as Baby said that “Cash Money Collection” will include 500 songs to be released in 2017. The Big Tymers member was not specific as to how, or what he planned to release.
Cash Money has maintained a difficult relationship with its past. While Hot Boys Juvenile and Turk signed back to the label in recent years (following tenures at Atlantic, eOne, and Rap-A-Lot Records), flagship act Lil Wayne is currently doing legal battle (to the tune of $51 million) against C.M.R. Others, including longtime label producer Mannie Fresh and B.G., have also left citing financial disputes to find success elsewhere. Meanwhile, the aforementioned ‘Gizzle and Turk have dealt with lengthy incarcerations and admitted drug addictions. Past artists such as Magnolia Shorty, and U.N.L.V.’s Yella Boy were both killed.
Other labels have opened their archival vaults. Death Row Records, following its sale to WIDE Awake, released albums of previously vaulted recordings by Snoop Dogg, Kurupt, Kxng Crooked (as “Crooked I”), Sam Sneed, and others, in addition to label box set compilations.
In 2016, Cash Money co-released (with Wayne’s Young Money) the top-selling Hip-Hop album, Drake’s Views.