During the late ’90s, Cash Money Records was on top of the world. With a stable of platinum sellers and dozens of chart-topping hits, it seemed as if nothing could stop the New Orleans–based label’s reign. That was until things fell apart. Shortly after the turn of the century, the crew’s roster slowly began to whittle away, until only co-CEO Bryan “Baby” Williams and franchise player Lil Wayne were left. After holding the brand down as solo artists, the two join forces for their first collaborative effort, Like Father Like Son.

Longtime beatsmith Mannie Fresh is replaced by industry veteran T-Mix, who handles a bulk of the production and provides ample amounts of heat for Baby and Wayne to ball on. The dynamic duo declare their dominance over his synthesized horns on “Stuntin’ Like My Daddy” and again on the brooding “Get That Money,” where Birdman squawks, “If they ain’t wit’ us, they against us/We shoot ’em in the head ’cause they actin’ senseless.”

The ball-’til-ya-fall theme continues with the Rick Ross and T-Pain–featured “Know What I’m Doin’” and the 808-heavy “Out the Pound.” But it’s Scott Storch’s orchestrated production on “You Ain’t Know” that allows Birdman Jr. to spread his wings and soar to new heights. Backed by rumblin’ bass and precise chopsticks drums, Weezy announces, “Gettin’ money is my sport/And understand that the rap game is my court/So I shall walk and come forth like a Rockport/Or some sort of matching slippers or yacht shoes/See, I don’t cruise control, I control the cruise.”

With solid production throughout, Wayne’s ever-evolving sentence structure and Baby’s uncanny swagger, Like Father Like Son falters only in the diversity department. Over the course of the project’s 20 tracks, continued references to their dope-dealing pasts (“1st Key” and “Over Here Hustlin’”) begin to dilute what otherwise is a solid project that ushers in a new Cash Money dynasty.—ANSLEM SAMUEL
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86cover.jpgRead the rest of XXL’s Critical Beatdown review section in the
November 2006 issue (#86)