Q-Tip said it best: "Industry rule number 4.080, Cash Money Records is shady." Ok, so maybe that's not the literal quote, but as report after report of Cash Money head honcho Birdman's wheelings and dealings continue to pile up, if Tip were to write "Check the Rhime" today, no one would blame him for calling out the house that Birdman built.
Case in point, Bangladesh, the producer who helped write Wayne's ubersmash hit "A Milli". Bangladesh, whose name makes no sense to me by the way, took to the internets last week to complain about Cash Money's continuing procrastination when it comes to his production work. (Video contains adult language.)
For the record, under most production deals an artist or label doesn't have to pay immediately, it often takes producers six months or even a year before they receive compensation, but it's been three years since that track dropped. Three years! It's no wonder Bangladesh is suing, I'm surprised it didn't happen sooner.
If it was only Bangladesh complaining we could perhaps write this off as an anomaly, but apparently Cash Money's not paying anyone, for anything, ever. Last year production duo Play N Skillz filed a lawsuit after Cash Money failed to throw so much as a free sandwich in their direction for their work on "Got Money", Deezle went to the courts after getting stiffed on "Mrs. Officer" and the esteemed Jim Jonsin was similarly forced to file suit after failing to see a penny from his beat to the smash "Lollipop." That is no coincidence.
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In other words, Birdman's learned from the best (or worst) and is getting his Goldman Sach's on, shifting funds and royalty payments around to make it initially appear as if the producers Cash Money has worked with aren't owed anything, forcing them to legally call out his shadiness. His general philosophy seems to be to make those he works with fight for every penny, and the long term I'm sure he ends up keeping far more cash than he should. It's incredible effective, but it's also shady as hell.
Of course, there's no reason to think that Birdman employs this tactic with producers but magically pays out his artists what they owe. In fact, I'd be shocked if anyone signed to Cash Money is truly receiving the royalties they're owed....wait...
...holy shit...Kat Stacks was right. All those Cash Money dudes (Gudda Gudda, Jae Millz, etc.) really are probably living in a shitty condo. Not since Jose Canseco has a less credible source of information turned out to be accurate.
Anyway, while this is obviously speculation, I'd be surprised if even the major names (Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Drake, etc.) on Cash Money were truly getting paid what they're owed. Instead, I'd be willing to bet that Birdman is providing them with homes, cars and all the spending money they could want, but making sure everything remains in his name. It's the difference between "having" something and "owning" something, and for everything the Cash Money click appears to have, I doubt they own much. It's the kind of tactic employed by pimps everywhere.
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At the moment Cash Money makes so many hits artists and producers won't stop lining up for the chance to work with Birdman, but in the end this kind of shadiness can only hurt the label; pissing off guaranteed hitmakers like Jonsin isn't a good idea. Then again, if it ever gets to the point where Cash Money is in serious trouble, he'll just empty out his accounts and buy a Caribbean island somewhere, leaving a lot of people owed a whole lot of money.
The man can't rap, but good lord can he play the game.