Can Young Money Produce More Than 3 Stars? – The YM Pecking Order
I was watching Jersey Shore on my computer, and then I got some email from XXL telling me that I won their blog competition. That’s great, but I was in the middle of watching Jersey Shore. It might be the greatest reality TV show that I have ever seen (“That girl is a double bagger. You wear a bag on your face in case the bag on hers falls off.”). And now XXL is giving me deadlines? Four blog entries before the end of the week? When do I get that check? I’m all about my money. And yet, I find myself exiting the Jersey Shore window, and writing this blog, so that I can “show and prove” to XXL’s millions of readers why I should be given a voice. Shit, talk about pressure. I feel like Dre after a Detox meeting with Jimmy Iovine.
I’m absolutely fascinated with the Young Money roster. Lil Wayne has been handing out record deals over there like food stamps during a recession. It’s kind of funny to see which rapper joins them next. Bizzy Bone? Bow Wow? I guess when you can sell three million copies of a good hip-hop album, 500,000 of a terrible pseudo-rock album, and another soon-to-be 500,000 copies of a pedestrian 10-track record released while you’re in jail, well, it means you have power.
Sorry, Weezy, but no one man should have all that power.
When so many rappers are signed to one label, it mathematically decreases the chances of each rapper ever becoming successful. Does anyone think this guy Gudda Gudda is happy that he has to share a bunk bed with Cory Gunz now? You think Lil Twist is excited now that they can have 5-on-5 basketball games in the backyard court? Is Birdman proud that his son now has so many new friends? The answers are obviously no, no, and yes.
This whole Young Money collective is interesting. It consists of roughly 10-15 rappers, give or take a mic. They all want to be successful, I suppose. Out of the lot, only three or four have tasted real success. And what about the remaining 10, you ask? Well, that’s what I’ve been wondering about.
The gold-selling Young Money album was a good start. But one still wonders how newly elected President Mack Maine plans on telling Gudda Gudda, T-Streets, Lil Chuckee, Cory Gunz, Tyga, Jae Millz, Short Dawg, Shanell, and even Bow Wow that YM won’t be releasing any of their albums. The only priorities on that label are Weezy, Drake, and Nicki. I give an exception to Lil Twist because of his semi-recent local success. But you have to wonder if he’ll ever be able to walk again after his (alleged) Kat Stacks encounter.
Maybe it’s because I’m from New York. I grew up on local legends like Saigon, Papoose, Joell Ortiz, Red Cafe and even Jae Millz, who although are all nice, have little potential to ever go gold or platinum, which makes it next to impossible to release an album on a major. Millz, I’ll tell it to you straight, if Mack still hasn’t; your album is never coming out. And if it does, you won’t get any marketing dollars. You’re stuck in that rap purgatory, in which everyone across the board says you’re nice, but you don’t have that commercial appeal.
One solution might be to keep putting out Young Money compilation albums and mixtapes. Didn’t they all look like one happy family in that “Bedrock” video? Speaking of that video, was I the only one who truly wondered if they all live together in a big house? I could just imagine Lil Chuckee peeking in the shower while Nicki is cleaning off her assets, while Gudda Gudda and Lil Twist stand outside of Drake’s room waiting for his leftover groupies, all the while Mack Maine is shouting at everyone to be quiet from his dainty office, filling out meaningless paperwork. Kat Stacks did say that a lot of the Young Money rappers were roommates, except for Lil Wayne. Though if I were to write anything based on what comes out of that girl’s mouth, it would be a messy situation. I’d probably have to re-write my shit faster than Jay rewrote his “Renegade” verse after Em sent his in.
I just don’t see it happening for most of the Young Money rappers. Bow Wow’s career is over. Tyga had a little bit of MTV shine, but that “Coconut Juice” could only feed so many mouths. I still don’t know who this guy Gudda Gudda is, but I can tell you that he probably won’t ever make it onto the Walmart CD rack. Cory Gunz is nice, but I’m always skeptical of guys who float around the industry without much success. Although his recent drop “Militia Gang” was dope. Like I said, I think Lil Twist has a shot. Mack Maine will get his album out, merely for being the President of the label. One does have to wonder what Mack’s actual position entails. Is it sort of like how Jim Jones is the VP of some A&R division at E1/Koch, which basically means he needs to shout them out every so often? Or is it more like Cortez Bryant, the former YM President, whose managing and marketing performance with Tha Carter III was nearly impeccable. Strangely, I’m inclined to go with the former.
Nicki Minaj, who has Pink Friday coming out in a month, might have been the steal of the century. It seems like people have already forgotten that as little as two years ago, this girl was looking for a deal, despite already being affiliated with Weezy. Then he signed her, probably for peanuts. It’s amazing what a little surgery can do for a chick. Regardless, she is now one of the biggest, loudest rappers in the game. One would think that she just would’ve handled Kat Stacks at the door. The rest of the crew sure didn’t.
YM is the next big label, but there are going to be some disappointed rappers, as well as many future weed carriers. —Shlomo