You guys also signed Busta Rhymes and Mystikal, who aren’t the young guys you guys usually go for.
Right. I like Busta. I respect him so much as a grinder. He’s seen the ups and the downs of the business. I saw how he handled it, and all I saw was hustle. He’s still doing it. I thought it was nothing but right to give him a shot. Plus, he’s a real talented artist and I wanted a chance to work with him.
Mystikal is a phenomenal artist. I never even thought I’d get a chance to work with Mystikal. So when the opportunity came [I took it]. Getting Mystikal, he brought that bounce shit back to the table. I always wanted an act from the town, and I’m gonna go get some more acts from the town. Who was a better act than Mystikal? He represent that, he brought that, he lived that.
For all the success you’ve had, there’s also been some negative things. One thing that plagued you guys for years was people complaining about getting paid properly. Especially with Mannie Fresh and Juvenile back in the day.
Whatever business I had with [Mannie Fresh and Juvenile back in the day] I took care of it and we’ll never go through that again. Not with no artist.
Nah that was a lot of shit, being young in the game. I was learning. Mistakes was happening and I got charged for them. I was young, so I guess I didn’t know. I learned from those mistakes and I’ll never make them twice. The mistakes that I did have with them, we straightened them out and got them corrected.
What mistakes did you make?
I was an artist at the time, I should’ve been more about my business and made sure that their business was straight. We all did this shit so young so when shit got fucked up, everyone pointed the finger at me like I was doing something fucked up.
I didn’t know no better myself. Until all that happened and then I figured it out, I wanted to straighten it out and make sure we never go through that again. Whatever business I had with them I took care of it and we’ll never go through that again. Not with no artist.
What about producers like Jim Jonsin and Bangladesh complaining about getting paid for Tha Carter III?
The Bangladesh situation, we got that cleared up too. And right now, me and Bangladesh are doing some business together to put all that bullshit behind us. We still work with Bangladesh, never stopped working with him.
What about Jim Jonsin, did you guys squash that?
That got straightened out too. Jim’s situation [became a problem because] it was a sample. When you sample somebody’s stuff your money gets froze. Jim and them worked it out. That’s out of my control. We didn’t know it had a sample.
Some producers won’t won’t tell you it’s a sample [but then when it is, people file an injunction against you and your money gets frozen].
But that’s normal business, not just my business. Any label goes through that. If you take the time to correct, it ain’t no bad business. You just take the time and if something is owed then you pay it.
So, would you say as of right now, your business is straight? Nobody is owed anything?
Nobody is owed nothing. [Ed. note—This interview was conducted prior to Cash Money being sued by EMI over unpaid royalties. The case was settled a few days later.] We’re 100 % straight. Now, Universal takes care of everything so it’ll never be a problem. All statements, royalties, all that shit is done in house. I don’t have to deal with that shit.
My business will always be ran properly because they’re gonna make sure all my business is done straight. They take care of all that type of shit. It’s been like that for the last four, five years.
5 Star Stunna
Speaking of money, let’s talk about stunting. I remember reading a rumor that you owned an $8 million Maybach?
Yeah, the Exelero. I didn’t own it, I was trying to purchase one.
What’s that like for you? I know you’re big into the jewels and the cars.
Nobody is owed nothing. We’re 100 % straight. Now, Universal takes care of everything so it’ll never be a problem.
I’m more into cars. I just love cars, I’ve been like that since I was a kid. It’s an infatuation because we grew up poor. Cars was something we were always trying to get. We hustle and go to jail and do all kinds of things to try to accomplish a better way to travel and eat for our families. It’s just one of the things that I like, to have a lot of them.
How many cars do you have now?
I used to take a million dollars and buy me as many cars as possible. Now, I might take two million dollars and spend it on one car. My Bugatti [and my other car] is like five million dollars in two cars.
Speaking of money, you’re also known for betting big money on the Super Bowl. What’s your next big bet?
I’m up like two million dollars from bets that I’ve made, so if Mayweather fights Pacquiao, I’m going to bet five million on Mayweather. I put a million on Mayweather during his last fight. I’m not really a gambler, but I’ll bet on the Super Bowl or some boxing. Something I feel comfortable with.
Well you famously took a loss when you bet on the Heat last year.
Yeah I bet on the Heat and I lost one. I’m going to bet back with the Heat again this year. They’re going back. I’m going to bet with them, they won’t do it twice. The first time was just experience, they’d just started playing together. The second time they’ll cash in.
Are you going to put up another two million this time?
I’m going to put one up.
Another interesting thing about you is that you’ve been investing in oil. How did that come about?
I ran across some real estate with some oil in it. I decided it was something nice and cool, something for my kids and my family. I thought it would be nice to get something different, something that not everyone else was doing. It’s a cool business though.
We did a post last year about how you’re always rubbing your hands in music videos. We called it The Birdman Handrub.
I saw you once tweeted saying “I’m rubbing my hands because I’m always counting money.”
So many people ask me about it but honestly I don’t know. Shit just became a habit. But my palms do itch a lot, I swear they do. So I got tired of scratching them and just went to rubbing my hands.
It’s funny, they say when you want to get money they say “your palms are itchy” and your palms are literally itchy.
My palms do itch a lot, I swear they do. So I got tired of scratching them and just went to rubbing my hands.
They itch a lot, man. So I just got tired of scratching them and just went to rubbing my hands. But it just became a habit and it’s like I’m known for the shit. I’m like “Damn, I’m doing this shit that much that people are recognizing it? But then I found myself doing it so now I’m like, Fuck it, I’m going to keep doing it.
That’s dope that instead of shying away from it, you embrace it.
I really wanted to let them know that at the end of the day, it’s really about money. Don’t get it twisted. I’m a hard worker and everything with me is, if I work hard I should get paid for it. Everything with me, I try to symbolize something flashy like jewelry or a car. The rubbing hands is a symbol of hustling, so it goes back to the money.