One interesting thing about you is that you’re 42 and you’re still hanging around with the young kids...
They’re my motivation. I wanna see them be all they can be. My son is like the world to me. We got a strong little team. They’re very talented and I dedicate my life to their future and what they wanna be in this music game. My motivation in this game is trying to make the most superstars as possible for our team.
Is it ever weird for you hanging out with them? Like do they wanna do kid stuff when you’re trying to do grown stuff?
Everybody doing they own thing, move how they feel. When it comes to everybody doing personal things, people go in their different directions. But when it comes to the music, we click tight.
What kind of advice do you give them?
No female ever will be able to sell more records than Nicki Minaj, have more singles than her, have more number one singles than her, have more awards—no more nothing. Her accomplishments are gonna speak for themselves.
If you can’t see us as a motivation, I don’t really know what [it] would be. Focus and grind cause we not gonna stop. Wayne ain’t gonna stop, I’m not gonna stop. Your leader is your motivation. Your leader be lazy, your team gonna be lazy. There ain’t nothing lazy about us. Hard work pays and that’s all they gonna ever see us do is work.
Speaking of working, when was the last time you were in the studio?
This morning—I left at 7 this morning. We get about 10, 12 hours in every day.
Have you ever had to tell someone like “Yo, son, you gotta step it up, you’re not going hard enough”?
I ain’t had to do that. I always be on them anyway, like staying in touch and letting them know we focused on them and they project. I call and get updates every day. If I don’t do it, my nephew Mack Maine do it, my brother Slim do it, because we got so many acts. We trying to find out what y’all doing, what’s up, where the single, what’s the plan? I do that every day.
We’ve got Nicki Minaj on our current cover. Do you think Nicki Minajis the biggest female rapper of all time?
I say she is, but if she’s not today, within time she will be. No female ever will be able to sell more records than her, have more singles than her, have more number one singles than her, have more awards—no more nothing. She had the most singles by a female last year. Her accomplishments are gonna speak for themselves.
I can say that now because that’s just her first album but she’s only growing and getting bigger and bigger. She’s a global artist. She’s a student to the game. She’s hard-body with her workload.
I watched her grow. We got Nicki off a street DVD. Wayne brought the DVD to me, me and him was on the bus watching it and it was her just rapping. At the time, Wayne didn’t have a female [in the crew] and we were rebuilding what we was doing.
We wanted to have a female that could really rap. Soon as we seen her, we were like “Wow.” Two days later, we flew her out and had a meeting with her. We ain’t never looked back.
Do you see her as the biggest female artist or just as a female rapper?
I don’t look at them as rappers, they’re artists to me. Damn near call them musicians. She’s too well rounded to be just looked at like a rapper. She does it all. You’ll see, we gonna do more numbers—across the counter and digital.
Cash Money is an army but is there any artist in the game that you see that you wish was on your team?
Wow. There’s a lot of acts I’d like to work. I got a lot of respect for Rozay and what he accomplishing with his brand and his team. DJ Khaled. I like Jeezy. I like Game. In time, I’ll be working with some of them.
Hopefully in time we’ll get a chance to do some business. I’m looking forward to it though—any of them at any time when the time is right, I’m looking forward to it.
It’s interesting that you mention Rick Ross. A few months ago there was some speculation that he would sign to Cash Money. When his next album drops that will be his 5th album for Def Jam, and his contract will end. Have you and Rick Ross ever had the discussion about him coming to Cash Money?
Right now Rick Ross is signed to Def Jam, but when the time do come, I’m gonna be right there waiting.
Nah, not at this point. Ross signed to Def Jam and you know Ross is a close friend of mine. But if the time ever came, we gonna G up and make it happen. Right now he signed to Def Jam, but when the time do come, I’m gonna be right there waiting.
To snatch him up?
If the opportunity comes through. Time will tell, we will see.
You also mentioned Game. He said that you and him had been in talks about him coming to Cash Money. Is that true?
Game is signed to Interscope—I don’t really know his situation. I don’t like to get into talks with other people who are signed to other labels because I wouldn’t want them niggas fucking with nothing that’s mine. So I show respect to whoever they with.
I know that I told Game, if the time come I would love to sign Game. I think he’s a very talented artist. But right now he’s signed with Interscope, maybe he’s got another album. But when time comes, I’m gonna be there for him too.
What other teams in the music business today impress you?
Khaled’s We the Best. Rozay’s team.
What about G.O.O.D Music?
They’re doing what they’re doing too. But I think Khaled and Rozay are doing a little more. They’re a little more active with their acts. I ain’t talking about them as a brand, but their acts. You got Kanye doing him, but what acts do they have that are active and doing a lot? I’m looking at how much your team is doing.
Rick Ross always says he looks up to you.
I know man. I’ve been seeing Ross. I like his hustle. You can see how he patterned his whole thing around how we do what we do and he’s following the blueprint straight up. I got nothing but love and respect for Rozay. I watched him do it and he did it from nothing. He’s still grounded and that’s what I love about him. He’s got a solid team. They’ve got some great music over there.
With acts like Chris Richardson, Jay Sean, and Kevin Rudolph, Cash Money seems like it’s consciously going for non-rap acts.
You got Kanye doing him, but what acts does G.O.O.D. Music have that are active and doing a lot? I’m looking at how much your team is doing.
We wanna be different types of music, we wanna be a brand of different types. We predominantly rap right now. We have Chris Richardson, Jay Sean, and Kevin Rudolph—I wanna do more of that. I wanna do country, I wanna do heavy rock [Ed. note—Interview was conducted prior to Limp Bizkit signing to Cash Money].
We gonna always pick up different talent—that’s just us, just expanding our brands and having the machine to work it. We’ve been trying to do it—like with R.I.P Teena Marie—and a lot of different acts we had. But at the time, we wasn’t settled staff wise. It was a learning process for us. Everything we went through then is preparation for what we going through now. To be on top, to grow while you’re up here, and try to go further. That shit take a lot, man.