Lil Wayne Joins Roc Nation. The “Best Rapper Alive” May Soon Get His Cash Money.
Lil Wayne has been symbolically estranged from Cash Money Records for more than two years. While Weezy F. Baby has since been photographed with onetime adoptive guardian Birdman (the label’s co-founder) during his $51 million lawsuit, the New Orleans, Louisiana MC has been unable to release projects, namely the long-awaited Carter V album.
It appears that there may be a powerful new development in Wayne’s career. The MC made a big announcement this week at Slippery Rock University in western Pennsylvania. There, the onetime Hot Boys member told show-goers that he has joined Roc Nation.
“Is it cool if I just say it? It’s the Roc,” Wayne proclaims in the video. “You know I’m a member of that team now.”
If Wayne has joined Jay Z’s management and record company, he would link with past collaborators such as The LOX, Jim Jones, Fabolous, Big Sean, and Fat Joe.
Like Joe, Wayne’s history with Jay Z is complicated. The two artists have worked together on major songs such as “Mr. Carter,” “Swagga Like Us,” and “Hello Brooklyn.” However, even during those cooperative times, there have been lyrics leading many to believe there were problems between Dwayne Michael Carter and Shawn Corey Carter. Wayne’s 2011 “It’s Good” line had many, including MTV, speculating Jay was the aim: “Talkin’ ’bout Baby money? / I got your Baby money / Kidnap yo’ bitch, get that how-much-you-love-your-lady money,” Wayne spit, apparently addressing Beyoncé and Blue Ivy in doing so.
That line was believed to be a response to Jay’s “H.A.M.” lyrics from that same year: “I’m like really half a billi’ nigga, really you got Baby money / Keep it real with niggas, niggas ain’t got my lady money.” While Jay appeared to be dissing Birdman (who introduced himself in the 1990s as Big Tymers member “Baby”), it was Wayne who returned fire.
Jay would fire back at Wayne on “La Familia,” getting the last word: “Nigga wanna kidnap wifey, good luck with that bruh / You must gonna hide your whole family, what you think we wearing black for? / Ready for that war, ready for that war ready; You ain’t ready yo’, you radio; You ain’t really ready, real nigga chea’”
The two leading MCs working together again is not a sudden development. During Wayne’s legal battle with CMR, Jay Z’s Tidal stepped in as a home for a Wayne project, Free Weezy. That was the subject of a cease-and-desist letter from Cash Money, attached to a $50 million lawsuit, just days after Weezy was announced as possessing an ownership stake in the streaming platform (as T.I. would do later).
Additionally, Wayne’s longtime manager Cortez Bryant co-founded The Blueprint Group with Gee Roberson and Kyambo “Hip Hop” Joshua in 2007. The latter two of the company were longtime Roc-A-Fella Records employees, serving in A&R and production company capacities.
In the mid-2000s, under Jay Z’s leadership, Lil Wayne announced signing with Def Jam Records during a re-negotiation period with Cash Money. In the end, that partnership never solidified, as Wayne spent the next decade-plus with CMR. In 2005, Cash Money’s hit producer Mannie Fresh would sign with Def Jam (also during Jay’s regime) after leaving his previous label of more than a dozen years.
Lil Wayne has released more than 19 solo and group albums with Cash Money Records over the last 20 years.