Saturday, April 1, 2023

Young Money: The Fall of an Empire.

March 29, 2021 by  
Filed under Ent., Music, News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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( In the early 2010s, Lil Wayne’s Young Money record label was poised to be the top record label in the music game with many heavy hitters and a few up and commers with major potential. Sadly, it did not work out this way and the label is all but closed down now with much of its star power either leaving to form their own labels or moving on in order to get better record deals themselves where they don’t have to cut Young Money and Cash Money in on their profits. Let’s look at the three aspects of the label and see what happened.

The Cornerstones of Young Money

The biggest appeal of Young Money was that it was actually made of younger artists. Being an imprint of the larger Cash Money record label, Young Money was put together and ran by Lil Wayne at the peak of his popularity. He managed to attract a large amount of talent based off of the strength of who he is.

To most people between 25 and 35, especially in the south, Lil Wayne is that generation’s Jay Z. With that recognition, he put together a three headed monster of young artists that if they were still together today, would go down as the greatest label of all time.

Lil Wayne aside, the three artists that I am talking about is Drake, who had superstar written all over him. Early on, you could see that he was going to be one of the greats. He brought with him the potential of a large female fanbase and the “backpack” fanbase that was popular at the time. His combination of rapping and singing shot the stock of Young Money through the roof.

Nick Minaj was next and she is self-explanatory. A female MC who was basically the only female getting mainstream attention for around 7 years straight and could rap better than 95% of the men. Lastly and the most underrated and disrespected member of Young Money at the time was Tyga. The young rapper from California was a huge star, almost on the same level as Drake and Nicki at one point, and Young Money somehow fumbled on him.


Missed Opportunities

Tyga is the biggest missed opportunity not only in Young Money, but probably in hip hop. Of course, he is doing great for himself now, pumping out hit song after hit song but many don’t remember that he was on a much different path when he was a part of Young Money. He was always going to be overshadowed by Drake as long as he was there but there was a time that Tyga was well on his way to being mentioned in the same class as Drake, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Big Sean, and Wale.

For Tyga fans that just started to listen to him, go back and listen to his 2012 and 2013 albums, Careless World: Rise of the Last King and Hotel California to get an idea of the kind of artist he was back then. He still was a hit maker but he was a very good rapper that would have been one of the top names today.

Another person that Young Money fumbled on in my opinion was Jae Millz, although it may be his fault. Jae Millz was a “rapper’s rapper” from New York who participated in rap battles. A lot of this is seen in the way he raps and he is actually very good. The issue is that he couldn’t make songs that people wanted to keep listening to and in a world where everyone is a very good rapper, very good isn’t good enough. Where I think that he could’ve made his biggest mark and set himself apart from all of his peers is the type of music that he chose to do.

Being from New York, the mecca of hip hop, I’m sure that he wanted to be respected as that lyricist but he dropped The Virgo mixtape series and I thought that I could have been gold for him. The mixtapes were a mixture of remixes of the most popular songs of the time and some original songs. He made it past Virgo 6 and I think that if he put his time into that aspect of his music, he could have carved out a niche for himself that is currently occupied by artists like Kevin Gates, Ty Dollar $ign, and BRS Kash.

The Rest of the Pack

At any time, you could say that any of the other artists on Young Money could have been big or could’ve blown up. You can really say that about any artist today but in reality, everyone isn’t a star or have that star quality about themselves. The last issue with the Young Money label and something that I think also led to its downfall was the amount of artist that they had on the label.

They had people there and I’m sure that they tried to get all of them out but in doing that, they got none of them out. The label was so focused on getting Lil Wayne, Drake, Nicki, and Tyga out that they didn’t have time to get Cory Gunz, Christina Milian, Euro, Flow, Gudda Gudda, Lil Twist, Lil Chuckie, Boo, Glasses Malone, Jae Millz, Kidd Kidd, or Omarion’s album out. That isn’t even the whole roster.

I know that Lil Wayne and the other people running Young Money probably saw something in all of these artists but having all of them under record deals and not doing anything with them is probably one of the main reasons that Young Money went down. That list could have been cut down to Cory Gunz, Shanell, and Jae Millz and they would have been fine. With the rest of the pack, it seemed like they had the “If we all don’t eat, then no one will eat” mentality.

Staff Writer; Tardell Swift

This brother is new to writing yet has many different interests such as gaming, hip hop, wrestling, and manga.

You can follow him on TwitterPhirewoodGaming and keep up with his thoughts there as well.

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