Bryan “Baby” Williams: In It For Keeps [June 2011 Cover Story Excerpt]
It seems like an interesting role that you took at that point in the label. You named Wayne president of the company in 2005. You were stepping back in a sense.
Honestly, I gave him the floor. He wanted it. I been with him since he was seven years old, eight years old. I been in his life all of his life. And he was like, “Let me handle it.” At that time, me as an artist, losing my sister and everything I was going through personally, I was just like, “Go ahead, I’ma just support what you gon’ do. You can handle it.” And I took a step back. Probably was the smartest move I ever made in my life was to let him go ’head. And I saw his…he had a vision, and we stuck with it. I believed in him. I believed in everything he wanted to do, and I supported it. I still do that today.
What did it mean to take a step back?
Back then, I was looking at the flow, too. Observing the game. We had a lot of niggas in my position don’t wanna take the step back, and I didn’t wanna be one of them niggas, you know. I understood he can do it longer than me. He had the talent. And it’s my son, so I’m gon’ support whatever he wanna do. And I ain’t have a problem stepping back. Go ahead, you do it. I’m gonna rock with you. It’s yo’ world, our world. Do ya thing.
At that time, before Wayne blew up so big, was there ever a thought of, Maybe we don’t do this anymore? Did you ever think of quitting?
Never was, No, don’t do it. I always knew that he was gon’ do it. I was gon’ let him do it, ’cause he was young. So for me it was that or back on the block.
You had come so far. Could you have really gone back to the streets?
I mean, honestly, we never left there, you know. I just didn’t wanna have to be one of those ones who was a story like, He did it this year and ain’t do it the next year. I couldn’t. It was a fear factor for me to have it and don’t have it, be on top then don’t be on top. ’Cause I always studied the game. I watched the Suge Knights, the Master P’s, the Sean P. Diddys, Tony Draper, James Smith. I watched Eaz. I studied them, and I wanted to be better than all of them together.
Okay, so YMCMB is a little confusing. Is Young Money on Cash Money and Universal? If you’re signed to Young Money, are you signed to Cash Money? Is it the same label? Sister labels both on Universal? Can you explain?
Me and my son is partners. We partners. Everything we do, we do together. We 50/50 with it, and we one. I don’t look at us as separate. We one. We’re a unit. We a team. It’s our family. We work together, and we grind together, and we a team. Just point-blank, we’re a team.
So it doesn’t matter if Nicki and Drake are signed to Young Money or Cash Money officially?
They signed to Young Money.
But affiliated with…
So it’s different on the paperwork, but you get in the studio, stay involved with everybody the same?
Yeah, I still do that. I love doing that. That’s what keeps me young, being in the studio. I worked with them all. We all got personal relationships. They my son acts. They the new talent, and they very talented. I think Drake gonna be the next best to ever do it, after Wayne. He gon’ hold the world down, and I feel like Nicki there. It’s just a matter of time. She will be…you never had a female artist that you would put in the realm with the males to be the best. She that…
That’s the picture we paint to the world. This is family, me and my son, Wayne. You know where we come from and how hard. Ain’t nothing never came easy to us. It’s a together-forever thing, and we wanna grow and let the artists grow. Let them be as big as they could be and just keep growing as a brand.
Do you think that you get the respect that you deserve for the role that you played over the past 10-plus years in hip-hop?
Nah, not at all. But it do give me another motivation. It make me wanna work harder. Maybe I didn’t work hard enough. I’ma just keep going hard and keep tryna let my muscle, my money, my creativity, just keep us getting bigger and bigger. I think we have a lot to do, and I have a lot to do. But I definitely think people ain’t got it yet, and that’s good, too. I respect that.
**TO READ THE REST OF BRYAN “BABY” WILLIAMS’ COVER STORY, PICK UP THE JUNE 2011 ISSUE OF XXL. ON SALE NOW.**