Allegedly, Young Thug took part in a criminal conspiracy to murder Lil Wayne. Now, granted, the Free Weezy Album is unlistenable, but I don't think Lil Wayne deserves to die for having released it.
Yesterday we examined Cobb County court documents that reveal Young Thug's connection to a hitman, Jimmy Winfrey, who is featured in the music video for Thugger's "Halftime." Young Thug and Birdman are named, but not charged, in a June indictment filed against Winfrey, a.k.a. PeeWee Roscoe, who is currently charged with racketeering and aggravated assault for having shot up Lil Wayne's tour bus in April outside of the Compound nightclub in Atlanta.
In their indictment, Cobb County prosecutors suggest that lyrics from Young Thug's "Halftime" refer to the shooting. "Halftime" first leaked to the Internet in late March, however, a month before Winfrey opened fire on Lil Wayne and before Wayne and Thug were beefing.
Here's an excerpt of the indictment against Winfrey, below:
While Thugger wasn't charged in the earlier indictment against Winfrey, U.S. Marshals arrested Young Thug at his home early yesterday morning for an unrelated charge—making "terroristic threats" against Chris May, a senior security officer at Perimeter Mall in Atlanta. When authorities conducted an exhaustive search of Young Thug's mansion in Sandy Springs yesterday, police at the scene refused to explain what, exactly, they were searching for, and whether their warrant was issued in connection with the ongoing investigation of Jimmy Winfrey.
In our previous installment of "Cash Money Records Is a Bloody Catastrophe," Wayne and Thugger were beefing over the album title and cover art for Young Thug's Barter 6. In April, Lil Wayne took to a concert stage in Columbus, Ohio, and instructed the audience to "stop listening to songs of niggas who pose naked on their motherfucking album covers." Alas, Young Thug stuck with artful nudity and dropped the album regardless, though Wayne's lawyers successfully pressured Birdman and Thugger to change the name from Carter 6 to Barter 6.
Still, Weezy keeps his former collaborators in various venues, and Wayne's publicist Karen Civil has eagerly stoked the feud via social media. At this point, the best case scenario is that the Lil Wanye vs. Young Thug bit of this broader Cash Money conflict is fake, orchestrated as prolonged album promotion of Wayne's stalled Carter V. Weezy's been cold since at least 2010, and a high-stakes beef with his biggest is, obviously, the juiciest sort of publicity.
Before this new dubious rivalry between Weezy and Thugger split YMCMB into polarized factions, you'll recall that Juvenile re-signed to Cash Money in October 2014, 10 years after he'd last abandoned the label due to a protracted financial disagreement with Birdman. Likewise, producer Mannie Fresh cut ties with Cash Money in 2004 after Birdman lost yet another one of Mannie's checks in the mail. While Lil Wayne is currently suing Birdman for $51 million in unrecovered earnings, former Hot Boys rapper Turk is suing the label for $1.3 million in unpaid royalties.
"We still have money issues," Mannie Fresh told Billboard in 2012. "We will always have them, as long as Cash Money is selling anything that has Mannie Fresh on it."
How has Cash Money Records sustained to this point? The company is 24 years old, and despite corrupt sketchy finances and violent infighting, it's still the most successful, most important hip-hop label in the music business. Until now, Birdman punished his disobedient artists by quietly starving them. In 2015, Birdman is shooting up tour buses, suing a Jay Z music venture for $50 million, and throwing daiquiris at Lil Wayne in public. This is a new, unprecedented low. For all the manipulation and financial mismanagement that's generally credited to Birdman, at least there was never a Blood conspiracy to assassinate Juvenile and Mannie Fresh.
It's all fun and jokes until hired goons shoot up a nightclub.
Nicki Minaj and Drake are the two most reliably profitable rappers of their generation, and they're signed to a label where even the lucrative veterans get extorted, have liquor spilled on them, or—worse yet—left to languish alone with no pay and no release date. It happened to Juvie and Mannie. It happened to Turk. It's happened to Wayne. Will it happen to Drake? Ain't no telling.
Justin Charity is a staff writer for Complex. Follow him @brothernumpsa.