BLOG: Is Cash Money the New Def Jam?

So the word is on December 15th Lil Wayne will be releasing not one, but three albums. Well, kinda. It seems Tha Carter IV will be packaged along with the Young Money compilation album, and his long-delayed rock album, The Rebirth (or not, Wayne has since said Rebirth will be a stand alone). Either way it’s quite a bold statement by both Universal and Cash Money Records, showing the utmost confidence in Wayne and his star power to drop three albums on the same day.

It all got me thinking; Cash Money Records is shaping up to be the premier hip-hop label of 2010. No disrespect to Def Jam, who is celebrating their 25th anniversary (not a cover plug, just the actual fact), but who would’ve thought that with over 10 years in the game on a national level that Cash Money Records would still be standing? And leading the pack!

In 1998, Baby, Slim and ’em partnered up with Universal to the tune of $30 million dollars. There was Juvenile, B.G., Lil Wayne and Turk. There were beats by Mannie Fresh and the occasional Big Tymers (that’s Baby and Mannie) album. There was a tour with the Ruff Ryders and millions of records sold. But after Juvie and B. Gizzle left, Turk got locked and Mannie jumped ship it was all supposed to end. Except it didn’t.

Wayne carried the label, Baby put out projects from Mack 10 and Teena Marie, as well as his own Birdman albums, and Cash Money kept on keepin’ on. Then Wayne dropped Tha Carter III, sold a shit load of records, eventually signed Drake, then Omarion, then dropped Omarion, then signed Bow Wow, and then stole my boo Nicki Minaj. Now, with rumors of Lloyd joining the fold, things are looking pretty strong for the N.O.-founded label.

It’s funny because Baby originally found success with a hardened stable of local New Orleans artists, but now the new Cash Money roster (even if most of the artists are funneled through Young Money) is looking like it can eclipse the O.G. CM roster. Drake is a slam-dunk (even with a bum knee), and I wouldn’t bet against Nicki (call me, girl). It ain’t just rap either, as Baby has had some success with rocker Kevin Rudolf and is expected to make a ton of money with U.K. pop singer Jay Sean when his U.S. debut drops later this year.

I can’t front, even with Lil Wayne’s solo success; I never thought that Cash Money would have the potential to be the biggest label in the game. Gotta give them their props. —Rob Markman

Rob the Music Ed is no more. I’ve been upgraded and now I’m XXL’s Deputy Editor. Clap for ’em! One!

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  • General

    I agree that it is hard to believe that they are probably more relevant now than they were during the Hot Boys time in the late 90′s. I still want to see if they can have sustained success with any artist besides Wayne though…

    I do think Drake’s debut will be big, but does he have longevity and really they don’t have any top notch artists with the exception of Wayne, so I think the Def Jam comparisons are a little premature…

  • FlapJack

    Deputy Editor! Props!

    Have to give credit to Cortez Bryant for that shit. At least that’s the way it seems to me.

  • Tony Grands

    The new Def Jam? Nah, thats quite a comparison. I’d say more like the new Tommy Boy, Priority or Profile, though.

    It’s a good look when “hood” labels recognize that there’s more to music than the “hustle” or regional bias’.

    I never understood Baby’s (& Slim’s) fascination with just keeping it local. Why? There’s untapped markets, countries who truly live Hip Hop, artists whose talent goes unnoticed; money exists worldwide in the music industry. & it’s not like Cash Money didn’t/doesn’t have the revenue to play ball with the majors. True, some cities go ignored until the success starts @ a homegrown, grassroots level, but that can only take a business (& it’s employees) so far. The world is a huge place.

    I guess this is what happens when it goes from a hustle to a bonafied business venture.

    “Tha Carter IV” & “Rebirth” simultaneously? Interesting, if true.

    • Pierzy

      Grands! Wow…I take a leave of absence and look what happens –

      Rob gets promoted (Congrats!), Dallas Penn moves on, Lil’ Wayne plans on dropping three albums and Cash Money is the strongest label in the game, thanks to R&B/crossover acts.

      What’s good everybody?

      I had to drop a line because I thought this drop was one of the better ones that has been posted recently and while I may not “like” it (never been a Cash Money fanatic), I think Rob made some great points. Well done.

      Believe it or not, I’m off to a grad school but it’s a late lunch “meeting” at a restaurant/bar so it’s not a total loss.

      By the way, I can’t stop listening to that Skyzoo album. “Return of the Real” and “Beautiful Decay” are amazing tracks!


      • Rob Markman

        Thanks for the love Pierzy.
        welcome back.
        Yoooooo that Skyzoo album is dope. Those are my two favorite songs, and ‘For What Its Worth”

  • Flizroyd

    MOre like Death Row > Five years from now we wo=ill see that none of these fools is getin paid. LIL Wayne is too dumb to know he dont own his own house . Baby and his brother got all the money. If every one who has ever done business with a person complains of getting screwed that is big HELLO (puffy, baby Luke, Eazy,suge)

  • YoungMoneyCashMoney

    “Cash Money Records Where Dreams Come True”

  • mark ginnis


  • http://xxlmag jb

    How r they the nu Def Jam when Wayne is the only one selling records for them?

  • Jon Dog

    Cash Money & Def Jam shouldn’t even been in the same sentance. Pretty bold on XXL’s behalf. Cash Money the new Def Jam…….WHAT THE FUCK??? Get the fuck outta here. Cash Money is a fuckin’ joke…

    • TheCoolest

      I couldn’t agree more.I’m not a hater but i want this cash money thing to go away. Wayne and Drake are the only ones that’s successful. Def Jam Is at Legend status.

      Def Jam> Wayne’s bitch-ass label

  • http://vaggaswagga.blogspot yazzaspazza

    if cash money and def jam combine it will be hell to pay for listners.def jam is pretty much the only hope for mainstream hip-hop right now, and if you’re listening closely to some of those artists from that camp, THAT shit ain’t all that. i applaud cash money artists tho for making such a triumphant rise from rapping about pure hustle and struggle, to rapping about luxurious’s impressive.

    it’s a chess move either way..but checkmate rockafella.let the games begin.

  • CRUZiiie

    congrats rob!!!! Great piece.

  • dklja


  • norcal


  • norcal

    SHADY,AFTERMATH records EM,DRE,50,and he back GAME who has sold more records then them

  • MikeD

    Yeah you’re reaching on that one Rob. Unless you are more specific on the era of Def Jam (Def Jam ’80s, ’90s, 2K, now?) they’ve been all over the place.

    Maybe Cash Money is more like the new Bad Boy circa ’97? One dope artist, a few aight ones and a lot of crap.

  • Mutada/Mullah Atari

    Glad someone finally said it…But unlike Def Jam who stayed in the urban zone, Cash Money/Young Money is all over pop radio. (Real pop radio, not “crossover”. ->> Jay Sean “Down”, number one record in America all over pop radio. Eric Rudolph “Let it Rock” Number five record in America, huge sales. Lil Wayne, number one album and record, huge sales. Drake, “Best I”, goes from #92 to number 2 on the charts. Nikki Minaj, the hottest female in the game at the time, say what you will but she is. Young Money the group, bout to blow the fuck up. Say what you want about Wanye and Baby, they have a really great team of employee’s and are WINNING RIGHT NOW


    Ha! congrats on ya promotion. but, no i cant agree w/ you, that CM is the new Def Jam. they have the ‘potential’ to become as great as Def Jam, IMO. they have to release some shit without lil wayne’s name on it first.

  • ApolloKid551

    I don’t think Cash Money well be the new Def Jam 4 a couple of reasons, 1st they have no go second tire of good artists the only artists that well get any attention is Lil’ Wayne, Drake & Nikki M., the rest of those artists they have are garbage, i liked Jay Millz but he was suppose 2 be hot in ’04 but it nevered happend 4 him, they were hot back in the late 90′s they will never have the success they had back then cause all the Hot Boyz had some star power & following, im not hating but remember who Def Jam had all quality & legendary artist past & current, LL Cool J, Slick Rick, EPMD Warren G, Method Man, Redman, Foxy Brown, Jay-Z,DMX, Ja Rule, Beanie Sigel, Scarface, Ludacris, Ghostface Killah & Fabolous then u have the second tire artist who for better or worse became superstars like Rick Ross & Young Jeezy, just 2 name a few so maybe Cash Money can become another Bad Boy prototype but they will never be Def Jam…

  • Melissa

    I don’t think so there is only artist and if something happened to him ( god forbid) what will they do

  • capcobra

    congratulations first…opinions 2nd…cash money can never be def jam….NEVER..i gotta agree with mike d on this one..if anything cash money is more like the new bad boy..the entire movement is based off wayne..the same way that bad boy movement revolved around big…if they not bad boy then they gotta be rocafella..cause they certainly not deathrow..not even if mannie was still the star producer and had ceo by his name like dre money didn’t even bring nothing new to the rap game..except the word bling bling…but that’s it… limit is who put new orleans on the let’s keep things in perspective…CASH MONEY COULD NEVER BE DEF JAM..ON NO LEVEL…i expect those kinda statements from a drugged up weezy or an angry kanye..but from the new deputy editor on his 1st day?… might end up on mail duty champ.

    • valdez

      ^^ HAHAHAHAHA!!

      that is real talk tho.

  • AZ40

    Sure, they’re putting out and buying there own records,paying for radio and video play, and putting out mediocre music. They’re like the newer Def Jam not Def Jam in their heyday when Def Jam was puttin’ out superstars on the regular…anyway who the hell is there competition most of the major labels are going under and most artist are going independent

  • CLJ

    i would say the new NWA, Death Row, Bad Boy, Ruff Riders, Roc-A-Fella, No Limit, old Cash Money, Slip-N-Slide, Aftermath, Shady, G-Unit, and DTP what all of them used to be… not Def Jam come on they were, well “still are” a big major label company. it’s more but can’t name them all. LOL

  • jonny bizness

    I tip my hat off 2 baby and slim 4 handling business when they 1st dropped i thought not another no limit and they would b around 3 yrs max but they r at the top of the game like it or not……fair play

  • TheCoolest

    More dickriding from XXL!

  • Matt Swagg

    WTF??? Carter IV, Rebirth n da Young Money compilation comin out on da same day?? Where did u get this info??

    • yo yo yo

      baby said it in a interview… so did wayne. see wshh

  • brand-new

    i think you may be jumping the gun a bit. i remember 4 years ago of people looking at g-unit records as the next def jam and we all see how that worked out. if cash money/young money can hold their ground for a few more years…then i’ll agree.

  • latino heat

    i agree that when CMR 1st cmae out i thought they were another 2nd rate No Limit. if you remember they’re were a lot of 2nd rate No Limit acts coming out at that time. some of them even through Universal. i remember they’re ad’s in the Source and laughing at the blatant rip off of the N.L. album covers. so i will give them props for lasting way longer than i ever thought they would. as far as being the next Def Jam, hell no. as everyone else said, when they can sell a album without connecting it to Wayne in some way then maybe you can start comparing the two.

    Wayne dropping 3 albums in one day? i’ll believe that when i see it.

    congrats on the promotion though Rob.

  • $ykotic/Don McCaine

    Congrats Rob. Good way to spark a convo on Monday.

    Can we get more weekend goodies? Word to capcobra.

    Pierzy what’s good?

    I see someone watched the Baby/CMR video blogs this weekend…

    Def Jam is equivalent to Motown.

    Cash Money is equivalent to Bad Boy.

    Good try though.

  • Official!

    There gonna sign Shyne believe that!

  • Shawty J

    Cash Money isn’t the new Def Jam. Cash Money still has a way to go and some other artist are gonna have to pop before we can make that comparison. And while Drake and maybe Nicki Minaj are on the rise until we see some actual albums and album sales I’m not putting Cash Money on par with Def Jam. I think $ykotic’s dead on comparing Cash Money to Bad Boy.

  • Blakout615

    How about cash money release an ALL$TAR album!!!! Dude been signed wit them forever! Hes talented,makes good music AND can spit wayyyy betta than wayne lol forreal tho. Whats the hold up slim & birdman? Ca$hville waiting…

  • GO-Getta’

    While i’m busy commenting Ni99as gettin’ promoted. Go get ‘em 4 my namesake Rob!

    Cashmoney been around 4 so long as a recording label & it seems like its never gonna stop anytime soon.

  • Beast McCoy

    ???????????????????????????? The New Bad Boy – Yes. The New Def Jam – No.

  • kedordu


  • droopey

    Cash Money is more like So So Def, JD’s crew. But yeah Cash Money is on the top.

  • a.k.

    No fools. Carter 4 and the Rebirth are a double disc and the YM comp is separate

  • abdulnasir

    good 2 hear 4rm u pierzy! gotta look out 4 dat skyzoo disc… or just download as usual.

  • oskamadison

    Cash Money and DEF JAM??!!!! In the same sentence?!!!! Someone’s on some real strong dust. To begin to even THINK about putting Cash Money in the same arena as Def Jam, Cash Money must:
    1. Go at least 5-6 years straight of dropping NOTHING BUT CLASSIC albums from EVERYONE on the roster.
    2. Become a brand synonomous with quality product en route to becoming an icon in HIP-HOP.
    3.Last ANOTHER 15 years (on a national scale)while surviving changing climates (in the industry as well as in the music and culture.)

    I’ll never say never (I done said never twice, word to Mos Def) but it’s highly unlikely Cash Money will ever reach the status of Def Jam on ANY level.


    What ever happened to Glasses Malone?

  • giantstepp

    CMR still has alot of work to do to be mentioned with Def Jam. Too many years of success with a variety of different artist. Cant front on CMR either because I thought they were a wanna be No Limit at first. I mos def respect their grind, and very impressed with they have done.

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  • DV8

    Lets see CMR get more then one platinum (or respectable #’s) selling artist on they current artist roster (Last time I checked Juvenile is STILL CMR’s highest selling artist). Then you can start with te comparisons but even if they still did DJ spawned so many labels, crews, etc. I dont think anybody will ever match that again.

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  • ms_spittuh

    You should get your job taken away for saying that dumb shit. Let me guess…Wayne is supposed to be the LL of Cash Money then? Nicki is what? Nikki D? Who/which is something she will never be? And don’t say Drake is the “Redman” of the label because I will jump through this fucking computer and cut your fucking nuts off! DONT FUCK WITH MY DEF JAM! X-(

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  • Italos Media

    To eliminatedebt making credit is just not enough.You have to build LOTS of cash
    Making credit isnt an easy joband you know that..You have to try more to get more