Young Money’s rapid-fire lyricist traces the musical markers in his life. —as told to John Kennedy
FIRST RECORDED RHYME (1999)
Eve, feat. Styles P, “That’s What It Is”
I was writing to everybody’s stuff, trying to find myself musically. My first verse I recorded was with my dad, to a Missy and Timbaland beat that switched to Styles P and Eve’s “That’s What It Is.” All of the DJs were playing that shit. There were a couple mess-ups, but it was still dope. Everybody told me to keep recording.
DROPPING OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL (2004)
50 Cent, “Thicker Than Water”
I left in my junior year like a dumb ass. I had a fight, was about to be suspended and just never went back. I wasn’t really feeling school. Rap was everything to me; I always left class to defend my battling crown. I was listening to a lot of 50 at that time, in summer school and shit. I’m definitely going back to school. I’m always open to learning.
MEETING LIL WAYNE (2004)
Cory Gunz, feat. Lil Wayne, “I Gotcha”
I was in the studio working on my [never completed] Def Jam LP. Wayne came out of his way while he was recording Tha Carter II and dropped a verse on my album for free, a record called “I Gotcha.” That song speaks for itself, because everything Wayne said he was going to do musically for me [on the song], he kept his word. I admire him for that.
BIRTH OF HIS TWIN DAUGHTERS (2008)
Eminem, “Hailie’s Song”
I had to leave… I was about to faint, yo! I was scared to touch them at first; they’re fragile. Being young and in that situation really humbles you, makes you feel responsible. You want to stand up more.
TURNING 21 (2009)
Nirvana, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
That song is real coming of age, to me. When I turned 21 my pops bought me my first legal drink, a shot of Patrón. He was basically passing down the torch, talking to me about becoming a man. That’s some grown-man shit. A lot of my friends’ pops were not around to share that moment when they turned 21, so that meant a lot to me.