An overview of the current roster of Young Money artists.
“All Hail Weezy,” demands Lil Wayne on “Blunt Blowin’,” a track off his album Tha Carter IV, and, for a few years, we did. In 2007, Lil Wayne ruled the rap world. That year alone he released over a hundred songs on the internet, all for free. These releases included the classic mixtape Da Drought 3, the only EP of his career The Leaks, and scores more of singles, features, and unauthorized mixtapes. It was such a mind-boggling outpouring of creativity. Those lucky of us to be paying attention witnessed an artist at the absolute peak of his powers, a rare sight to behold.
Birdman, Wayne’s longtime friend and Cash Money Records founder, realized Wayne’s potential and offered him the presidency of his label. Wayne accepted and his first acting order was to establish Young Money Entertainment, an imprint label off Cash Money Records led and curated by none other than Weezy himself.
Young Money quickly established itself as a juggernaut in the rap world. It released the triple-platinum album Tha Carter III, dropped two compilation albums (three if you include Rich Gang, their collaborative effort with Cash Money), and won a high-stakes bidding war for Nicki Minaj. Oh yeah, they also gambled on a Canadian actor from a teen-drama TV series.
Yet, all peaks must come with valleys. And there’s been a few in recent years. The empire showed signs of crumbling when the unthinkable happened in 2015: Lil Wayne and Birdman broke up. For reasons still unknown, Birdman halted the release of the highly anticipated Tha Carter V which resulted in Wayne suing his former mentor. Weezy threatened the record label by saying that when his contract expires he’s leaving Cash Money (and therefore Young Money), and he’s taking Drake and Nicki Minaj with him. There’s also the whole story where Young Thug and Birdman conspired to kill Lil Wayne, although those allegations were never proven. The issues between Birdman and Wayne are ongoing, and the release of Tha Carter V remains a confusing topic.
Though, as of 2017, Lil Wayne, Drake, and Nicki Minaj all still reside with Young Money Entertainment, which makes it arguably one of the most powerful labels in the business. With assistance from their official website, here is a breakdown of the 2017 Young Money roster.
Where else would we start? The curator, the founder, and the cornerstone of Young Money Entertainment. Without Lil Wayne, Young Money wouldn’t exist. Although his future with the company remains up in the air following his fallout with Birdman, there’s no doubt he remains the most influential talent on the label. Self-proclaimed as the “greatest rapper alive,” for a while, nobody disagreed with him. It would take all day listing his accomplishments so we’ll just highlight the most noteworthy:
Every single album he’s released has been certified gold by the RIAA.
He completely revolutionized the mixtape game by releasing a total of 24 mixtapes throughout his career.
His album sales soar past fifteen million copies sold.
And he’s been named dropped by Barack Obama several times.
He’s simply one of the best-selling artists of all time, but the end could be nigh. Over and over again, he’s hinted that Tha Carter V will be his last album before retirement. Even though the album’s been delayed numerous times, here’s hoping it not only gets released in the near future, but, also, that he can reconcile his broken relationship with Birdman and end his career where he needs to be…with YMCMB.
CHOICE CUT: “A Milli.” Simply one of the greatest rap songs ever recorded. This monster track showcases Wayne at the peak of his popularity, delivering his most powerful, most technically skilled song. Three and a half minutes of Lil Wayne rapping like there’s no tomorrow. A song which still keeps us scratching our heads, pondering the almighty question: “what’s a goon to a goblin?”
WHAT WAYNE SAYS: “I’m the greatest rapper alive