At the Agenda tradeshow earlier this week, Birdman blessed the stylish crowds with his tatted up presence and with the debut of two new clothing brands—YMCMB and Rich Gang. The two brands had crowds piling into the plush booth who wanted to peep the gear that's set to his shelves next spring. After Birdman insisted on trying a shitload of his GTV Vodka, we chopped it up about the two lines, and how it's been two decades in the making for Birdman and the YMCMB crew to expand their empire and take over the fashion world.
Interview by James Harris (@Dr_TacoMD)
What can you tell me about YMCMB and Rich Gang?
YMCMB is a line me and my son [Lil' Wayne] been workin' on for 20-plus years. We put a lot into it. We started it from nothing; We made it into something. We're super excited about it. We're super excited about being in fashion, and everything about the YMCMB brand, which is totally different
My goal is to always do it better, and we supposed to do it better than whoever done it already.
from Rich Gang. Rich Gang is a little higher-end, more of a fashion look. I like the difference because we didn't want them to be the same in no type of way, and they all represent us as a whole.
I think we've been very successful with what we've done so far in the business. And I'm just excited to be in the fashion business. With my son, we did Trukfit, and I think that's been super innovative for the people that bought it and his lifestyle and how he comes across with the skater look. We just excited.
What's the look of the two brands?
Rich Gang is a rich look.
Is it for dudes aspiring to get on your level, or dudes already on your level?
Aspiring and on. That's always been one of my motivations—to inspire. For the people who are inspired by it, it's working. To the people who have it, it works. So that's a double jeopardy to me, and the YMCBM is a totally different swag, but it can go both ways too because it's me and Wayne—it's the legacy. The Trukfit is a skater thing, totally different. I'm just excited by it all that we were able to bring three different brands to the fashion world.
You say they're reflections of the Young Money lifestyle. What is the Young oMney lifestyle? What are you representing when you throw on Rich Gang or YMCMB?
For the YMCMB brand, when I look at it now, since I know how we started, it's setting trends. We never follow anything. So when I say YMCMB I mean trends. In our lives and our careers in the business, we've never followed anything. We always been trendsetters. We never follow, we set 'em. And Rich Gang is a lifestyle. It's a total lifestyle that we built over the 23 years we been doing music. So they're night and day. The Rich Gang is the life that we're at now, and YMCMB is where we come from.
When Wayne was 16, and you guys put the Dirty South on the map, could you ever have imagined unveiling two fashion lines here in Las Vegas?
No, but it was a dream.
Was fashion always part of the dream, from the beginning?
Yeah, 'cause I watched the people who did it before me and who pioneered this game. The Russell Simmons, the Jay Zs, James Smith [LL Cool J], Rap-a-Lot, all these people who did this before us. These are the people I look up to. We're following the path they put before us, but we're doing it our own way.
How do you think you're gonna apply your music and business sense to fashion?
I think I'm doing that now. My goal is to do it better than those that have done it already. Everybody who done it, we want to be better than. Right now we have three different lines, and maybe by next year I'm gonna have five or six different lines. My goal is to always do it better, and we supposed to do it better than whoever done it already. That's one of my biggest goals. And to stay creative while doing it. The music keeps us driven, we'll never let go of the music. Fashion and all that comes after the music. I'm excited. We excited to be creative because this is what we do.
What's your involvement?
Totally involved. I approve all the designs, and my son approves everything on Trukfit, and me and him approve everything on YMCMB. Rich Gang, too. I'm 100% totally hands-on with all the lines.
Can you tell me what you’re wearing now?
I got on a Rich Gang T-shirt, I got on some Rich Gang jeans, some Givenchy shoes, and a Gucci belt. Hublot watch, me and my son always wear our black diamonds, Cuban links—my wifey gave me that. Hat? Boston. Red Sox. That’s my team.
How many tattoos you got at this point?
I swear I couldn’t even tell you. 1,000, if that, maybe more, because I’m tatted up all over, my whole body.