HIp-Hop’s Strangest Signings
Socialite and recent Ca$h Money signee Paris Hilton released her first new video, “Good Times,” since signing with the veteran rap label in May. The video is… well, let’s just say it’s all over the place. “Good Times” finds Paris’ nuclear-strength-auto-tuned vocals wilting over an obnoxious, sugary EDM production. Meanwhile, Lil Wayne shows up… to spit something about Paris not speaking French. It’s not good. Basically, the song exists to put Paris in a bathing suit while she frolicks around with shirtless men holding super-soakers. No thanks, everybody.
After watching the video, the question remains why Ca$h Money would sign the reality television star in the first place? It’s no secret that Paris Hilton’s iron grip on the tabloids have slipped since the Kardashian dynasty have taken the Iron Throne. Her 2006 debut album,
While the Paris signing is certainly odd, it’s hardly the first time a hip-hop label has made a curious signing in their history. XXL is looking back at some of the strangest signings by a rap label in hip-hop history today.
Limp Bizkit To Ca$h Money Records
In February 2012, it was announced that Ca$h Money Records had signed multiplatinum nu-metal act Limp Bizkit to a record deal. This wouldn’t necessarily seem that strange if it were 2002 due to Ca$h Money’s flagship artist Lil Wayne’s own leanings toward rap rock music with the release of his 2009 album, The Rebirth. However, it had been almost a decade since Fred Durst and company had released a relevant rock album on the charts. In April 2013, Limp Bizkit released their first single, “Ready To Go,’ on Ca$h Money with plans to release their sixth studio album, Stampede Of The Disco Elephants, in 2014.
Samantha Ronson To Roc-A-Fella Records
In 2002, British singer-song writer Samantha Ronson would become the first rock act signed to Roc-A-Fella Records. Ronson released four singles, “Pull My Hair Out”, “Fool”, “If It’s Gonna Rain” and “Built This Way, that were to be released on her debut album, Red, on Roc-A-Fella. However, the imminent dissolution of the Roc caused her debut album to be lost in the shuffle and it was never released on the album despite being available to fans online through bootlegs.
Omarion To Maybach Music Group
On May 2, 2012, Maybach Music Group held an press conference at the Eventi Hotel in New York City where they made announcement of an unexpected signing to their label. MMG Chief Rick Ross announced that R&B singer Omarion would be the latest signing to his musical empire. While a rap label signing an R&B singer is hardly strange, the pomp-and-circumstance surrounding the event seemed slightly overkill for a singer who had not had a truly relevant hit record in over six years. Since signing with the label, Omarion has released an EP and appeared on group compilations and a few of his label-mates album.
Slayer Signs With Def Jam
One of the earliest off-beat signings in rap imprint history was also one of the most successful. In 1986, Def Jam Records released the seminal thrash metal album, Reign In Blood, by heavy metal group Slayer. The move for Def Jam, which had up to the release of Reign In Blood was the strict domain of hip-hop acts such as LL Cool J, The Beastie Boys and T La Rock & Jazzy Jay, was a radical departure for the nascent hip-hop label. The group was signed by legendary Def Jam founder Rick Rubin in an effort to expand the label’s territory into new areas of music. The album would be the group’s first album to chart on the Billboard 200 while eventually being certified Gold in 1992. Meanwhile, the album would go on to be considered a classic of the heavy metal genre.
Teena Marie Joins Ca$h Money Records
In what might be the strangest signing to a hip-hop label of all-time, 1980s R&B singer Teena Marie signed with Ca$h Money Records in 2004. Marie who had not released an album at the time since 1994’s Passion Play would be the first in a series of left-field signings for the New Orleans-based rap label. The signing would be a mild success for the label as Marie would release two albums with the labe including 2004’s La Doña that would peak at No. 6 on the Billboard charts, the highest of her career and her lead single, “I’m Still In Love With You,” would be nominated for a Grammy for Best Female R&B Performance in 2005.