Cash Money Records comes in as the 8th most important hip-hop record label of all time. It’s getting serious.

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#8 Cash Money Records

As we discussed in our entries about #16 Rap-A-Lot Records and #12 No Limit Records, the South currently runs hip-hop (and has for at least the last 5 years) and Cash Money is by far the most successful hip-hop record label to come out of the South. When you add that Lil Wayne, Cash Money’s biggest artist, has now sold 1 million albums in the first week of release 2 times in a row (at a time when almost NO ONE sells a million records in 1 week) and is considered by many to be the best MC in the game, it seems almost enough to justify Cash Money’s existence in the top 10. Almost. When Cash Money’s sub-label, Young Money, is included in the mix with its one-two punch of Drake and Nicki Minaj, two of the hottest artists in music right now, it seals the deal, right? Not quite. The reality is Cash Money began earning its place in hip-hop history long before the last 5 years. The label has been around since 1992 when it was founded by the brothers Williams, Birdman and Slim. While Cash Money struggled its first few years, by 1997 it had achieved enough success to sign a distribution deal with Universal Music Group where Cash Money retained 85% of the royalties (most labels only keep 15%-20%). From that point on, they had an a run of hits until 2005 matched by few, if any hip-hop labels, over the same time period. That run was fueled by artists like Lil Wayne, Juvenile, B.G., Big Tymers, Hot Boys and Birdman, himself. In 2008, the label returned with a re-tooled line up which featured the Young Money stable of Drake, Nicki Minaj and others, with Wayne and Birdman still anchoring Cash Money. The run they’ve had since then amounts to nothing less than total domination of music. Period. In 2010 alone, Drake was on 10 top 20 singles. In the same year, Nicki Minaj became the first female MC to have a platinum album since Lil Kim in 2003. Nicki was also the first artist ever to have 7 songs on Billboard’s Hot 100…AT THE SAME TIME. With The Carter IV selling 964K copies in its first week in 2011, Drake’s Take Care selling 631K copies in its first week, and a new album from Nicki Minaj on the way, Cash Money’s reign shows no signs of letting up. In fact, if it continues, in a few years, Cash Money will be in the top 5 of this list or higher…Here’s a playlist featuring music from many of Cash Money’s artists: Wayne, Juvenile, B.G., Hot Boys, Big Tymers, Young Money, Drake, Nicki Minaj and Birdman.

Previously: #20 Rakwus Records, #19 Loud Records, #18 Select Records and #17 Fresh Records, #16 Rap-A-Lot Records, #15 Ruffhouse Records, #14 Uptown Records, #13 Cold Chillin’ Records, #12 No Limit Records, #11 Jive Records, #10 Aftermath Entertainment, #9 Roc-A-Fella Records