Cash Money Records


Getting Started

Cash Money Records had a very humble beginning. When asked about the motivation in starting his own record company Bryan Williams answered, “When I started it I was hoping it would get us out of the projects and into a positive way of life. And we wanted to help other people get out of this poverty.” [1] Bryan Williams always had the aspiration of helping his neighborhood become successful and rise up to a better life. “I never wanted to be a rapper myself, but to me it always was – and still is – all about making all these young boys into millionaires and letting them be their own bosses.” [2] At first Cash Money Records only had one local artist, Kilo G, and they sold all of their albums out of the back of the Williams brothers’ car. But soon a plethora of local artist began to sign on, many coming from the notorious Magnolia Projects. Cash Money Records’ original New Orleans offices were located between a body shop and a hot tub dealer, and early tracks were recorded in a building located in the 9th ward that was previously occupied by the Louisiana Center For Retarded Citizens. [3]

In 1995, many of the original artists were forced out, as the Williams brothers “began to purge most of the talents that helped establish the label, claiming that drugs kept them from being hungry enough to expand the label’s presence beyond New Orleans.” [4] The exiting members were replaced with new, local talent that were hungry to prove something. The artists built on New Orleans musical tradition and southern “gangsta” raps, while the label followed the blueprint of cross town rival. [5] Even though Cash Money Records remained an independent label, they were still able to sell hundreds of thousands of albums. [6] With the new roster, Cash Money Records was finally able to push out of that New Orleans boundary. This was due in part to new group Hot Boyz. The Hot Boyz were made up of B.G., Juvenile, Turk, and Lil Wayne, all local artists.


Eventually the record company began selling more albums than they could handle. That new demand is what caused the deal to be struck with Universal Records in 1998. The deal was for a groundbreaking $30 million, and allowed Cash Money to stay in independent and brought in millions of dollars for the city of New Orleans. [7] The contract, which was widely reported to give Cash Money Records $3 million in advance, also gave them 85% of all of its royalties, 50% of the publishing and ownership of all masters. In the rap community, the terms were regarded as unprecedented. [8]

But then in 2005 disaster struck in the form of Hurricane Katrina. The storm forced Cash Money to leave their roots of Uptown New Orleans and relocate to the sunny beaches of Miami, Florida. It took a little while for the label to find its footing in a new setting, with new partners, Universal. Bryan Williams has said, “If I was making moves the way corporate wanted us to make moves, I probably wouldn’t be in business, because they really don’t know how to hustle how we hustle.” Cash Money Records continues to thrive in their new market, while doing things their own way.

Works Cited

  • Green, Tony. “Remembering the Golden Age of Hip-hop.” MSNBC. N.p., 02 Aug. 2004. Web. 08 Nov. 2012 .
  • “Birdman: Top Seed.” Interview by Pete Lewis. Birdman: Top Seed n.d.: n. pag. Blues and Soul. Web. 25 Oct. 2012. .
  • “Interview with DINO DELVAILLE.” Interview by Kimbel Bouwman. Hitquarters. N.p., 01 Mar. 2004. Web. 09 Nov. 2012.
  • Green, Tony. “Remembering the Golden Age of Hip-hop.” MSNBC. N.p., 02 Aug. 2004. Web. 08 Nov. 2012. .
  • “DJ Deluxx with Ariana Speyer.” Interview by Ariana Speyer. Index Magazine. N.p., 2003. Web. 12 Nov. 2012. .
  • Westhoff, Ben. “Cash Money Records, Now Based in Miami, Again Dominates the Charts like It’s 1999.” Miami News Times. N.p., 14 Jan. 2010. Web. 12 Nov. 2012. .
  • Perkins, Kendrick. “Peaches Records Stays Rooted in New Orleans Music.” Stay Local! Stay Local, n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2012. ..
  • “DJ Deluxx with Ariana Speyer.” Interview by Ariana Speyer. Index Magazine. N.p.,2003. Web. 12 Nov. 2012..

This page was last modified on 15 December 2012, at 11:38