On this day, July 1, in hip-hop history...

Cash Money Records
Cash Money Records

1997: Even before the nationwide distribution deal and the world was dipped into the bling bling era, Cash Money Records was one of the hottest things smoking on the sun-baked streets of the South. The house that Birdman built had been trappin' tapes out of trunks and mom and pop music shops, and moving major units independently before the industry decided to jump onboard. One of the seminal projects that helped propel the label into the spotlight was B.G.'s 1997 sophomore solo album, It's All on U, Vol. 1.

At the time this album dropped, CMR was going through a bit of a rebranding, moving away from older acts like U.N.L.V., Ms. Tee and Lil' Slim and forging forward with then newer artists Juvenile, B.G. Lil Wayne and Turk. Following the release of Juvie's Cash Money debut, Solja Rags, in May of 1997, the Baby Gangster put out the guttural follow-up to his 1996 solo premiere, Chopper City.

With Mannie Fresh fully at the helm on the production end, as was the case at Cash Money at the time, Gizzle spelled out the life and times of a New Orleans youth beyond his years who had been totally hardened by the streets and numb to its violence. The project featured flash and fury with standout cuts like "Get Your Shine On," featuring the Big Tymers, "Silent B.G." and "Cash Money Niggaz." It would sell nearly 180,000 copies independently and be pivotal in showcasing the imprint's indie impact.

IAOUV1 would get a reprint in 1999, following the label's landmark deal with Universal in 1998. B.G. would follow up with Vol. 2 (1997), Chopper City in the Ghetto (1999), Check Mate (2000) and Livin' Legend (2003) on Cash Money before parting ways with the label in 2004.  However, his central position in the label's reign cannot be denied.

In 2009, B.G. was arrested following a traffic stop in East New Orleans, after police discovered three firearms in the stolen vehicle. He eventually plead guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and was sentenced to 14 years in prison in 2012. In 2017, the rapper's son said he could be getting out sooner than expected.

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