Cash Money’s Birdman-helmed posse album Rich Gang finally hits stores this week after several delays from its original Spring release date, and with it comes an album full of synth beats and guest appearances. The majority of the YMCMB roster fills out the features list—Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Busta Rhymes, Mystikal, Cory Gunz, Limp Bizkit, Ace Hood, Mack Maine and Tyga all show up at various points—while friends and associates such as Future, Kendrick Lamar, Yo Gotti, Chris Brown and R. Kelly also show up to lend a hand.
While lead single “Tapout” has been out for months, the track’s previously unreleased “Million Dollar” prelude expands it into, essentially a seven-minute opus at the beginning of the record. With Future on the hook, the song was always going to be a memorable club staple, but the best thing about it is how everyone on it—Lil Wayne, Birdman, Mack Maine, Nicki Minaj and Detail—grabs the beat and puts their own individual stamp on it.
Even with R&B stalwarts R. Kelly and Chris Brown tapped for their hook talents, the breakout performer on the project is the comparatively-unknown Detail, one of just three artists who get their own track on the album (Rick Ross’ “50 Plates” and album-opener “R.G.,” featuring Mystikal, are the others). His reverb-drenched vocal on “Burn The House” over a hand clap beat with a sparse piano line is a welcome interlude in between club bangers “Everyday” and “Panties To The Side.” Detail pops up repeatedly on the album—on four tracks to be exact, the most of anyone outside Wayne and Birdman—and contributes boldly each time, with “100 Favors,” which also features Stunna and Lamar, another standout.
Lamar also keeps up his winning streak on that track, his flow at times seemingly off cadence before landing squarely back on the beat, a tactic he’s been perfecting on his verses of late. His voice, like many of the Rich Gang contributors, is a distinctive instrument in and of itself, an attribution you could also apply to Mystikal, Wayne, Busta, Nicki, Future and Ross. The best example of this comes in “Everyday,” which contains some of the deftest rapping on the tape from Cory Gunz, the hyper-energetic Busta and the wildly enthusiastic Mystikal, who uses his verse to thank Cash Money for essentially giving him another chance after emerging back on the scene following his six-year prison sentence.
“Sunshine” with Limp Bizkit and Flo Rida has all the hallmarks of the latter’s chart-topping single formula, but feels out of place on an otherwise-stylistically cohesive album and is by far the oddest selection for the project. It underlines, again, the strangeness of some of YMCMB’s recent signings, with Paris Hilton—though she, thankfully, doesn’t appear anywhere here—another example.
Rich Gang is not especially lyrical, but that’s not really a shocker; its strengths lie more in its hooks and club appeal, and it’s fully stocked with tracks that demand to be played at ear-shattering and floor-shaking volumes. It’s another all-around solid chapter in the Cash Money canon.—Dan Rys (@danrys)