V Exclusive! Birdman and Mack Maine Talk PJ Morton, Cash Money Growth and New Albums
These days, it seems like there isn’t anything Cash Money isn’t capable of. After being listed as one of Billboard’s top Urban Power players in the industry this summer, CEO Bryan ‘Birdman’ William alongside his older brother Ronald ‘Slim’ Williams continue to push the label to its full potential. Dropping albums and inking deals, most recently with the likes of Red One, it’s clear their reign won’t let up. And, on the rare occasion that you might actually catch Birdman in New York City, it’s clear he’s there for one purpose and one purpose only: to oversee his growing dynasty.
While Young Money’s newest signee, PJ Morton proceeded to tear up the stage at Lower Manhattan’s Canal Room Thursday night (August 8), VIBE had the opportunity to catch up with Birdman and Young Money President, Mack Maine to talk about their blossoming roster, the growth of their labels, and Birdman’s upcoming album.
VIBE: It seems like Cash Money is signing new acts every day, how are you able to keep the line-up fresh?
BIRDMAN: We’ve been trying to find the best talent that we can find. PJ is the first act off of my nephew Mack label and he’s in conjunction with Young Money Cash Money. It’s really about empowering them. They’re all entrepreneurs. We all have a gift for talent and really expanding the brand. My nephew has been around since he was a kid around not just me, but my brother Wayne and I just think he was ready to explore his label. I think it was a great pick. I’ve been heard of PJ and I saw his talent and I was amazed by it.
What does it take to be a part of Cash Money?
Birdman: Talent. We try to find the best talent possible that we can find. It’s no certain one thing. If you have the talent, the heart, the drive, the dedication, that’s what we’re based on: loyalty, family, and just working hard.
What do you exactly look for in an artist?
Birdman: I look for creativity. When you find an act, with not a big budget, it be straight with them being created. With PJ there was just something—there was just raw talent. With our ability, we’re going to make it look better.
Mack Maine: PJ’s a lane and a type of music that we don’t have at Young Money, so it was a no brainer. With him being from New Orleans, him being a good person, and making great music, it was a no brainer.
How does PJ cater to the growth of your label?
Birdman: I have my label. I feel like to have a label last long, to watch my peers and a lot of people who have done this before me, doing me, it’s good not to have a lot of the same talent. Everybody’s rapping about the same thing. Everybody’s making the same kind of music and I think PJ brings a totally different art to our brand. Totally different and that’s what I love about it.
Mack Maine: We do music. You gotta think, he comes from a Gospel background. His music to me is like soul/R&B, the music that he makes. He calls it ‘love music.’ It’s not secular, and he’s on the road with Maroon 5, so you gotta think. He’s getting all those different genres of lanes together. He brings something to the table that none of the artists on our label do right now. A difference is what he brings.
Have you ever had incidents where an artist hasn’t popped liked they were supposed to?
Birdman: A lot of that. That’s what the business is about. It’s like a gamble. You never know. But it doesn’t stop anything. It makes me keep striving and if you believe artists, you stick with it. Keep trying, keep growing and keep working everyday hard and believing in it. It’s like a never ending road. Everybody don’t hit. We understand that. Some are young that we have to groom and grow. It might not be his time or her time, but you stick with it.
With everything that’s going on with Cash Money (the Red One conjunction, Mack Maine Soothe Your Soul Entertainment label, etc.), what can we expect from the label during tail end of 2012?
Birdman: We have Khaled’s album coming out this month, Kiss the Ring. We’re going to put a Bow Wow album out this year. We’re going to put something out on Twista. Wayne got an album coming out. Nicki’s doing something different for the end of the year. Drake is back in the studio. Myself, I’m working on a project. Limp Bizkit will be dropping a record in the next few weeks. We have a lot of new acts we’re working on. Tyga’s back in the studio working on his next project. Shanell has a new project coming out on Monday. She just shot a new video. I really think Shanell is going to be something special. We’re just going to keep striving—to just keep growing an expanding our brand and do as much as we can handle.
It’s been a while since you released a solo album. What can fans expect from Cash Money’s commander in chief?
Birdman: Well, I just basically do me. Me and Wayne are going to start working on our “Father Like Son Part II.” But, with my music, I just be myself and speak about my life, how I live and what I want out of life. My dedication and my focus is on my team, and trying to end up as big as possible. I love what I do, what I did in the business, and I continue to do what I did, but they my future; and I understand and I know that and that’s my whole strive of life and the life of my team.