Birdman Says He Owns All of His Music: 'I Never Allowed None of the Labels to Own Anything'

The rapper and Cash Money Records co-founder admitted that he didn't understand what publishing was when he first signed a deal with Universal in the '90s.

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In an interview with Jackass star Steve-O on his Wilde Ride! podcast, Cash Money Records co-founder Birdman said that he owns "100 percent" of his music.

"I did own everything," he told Steve-O around the eight-minute mark while noting that he failed to fully understand everything about the music industry when he got started. "I never allowed none of the labels to own anything. Universal never owned nothing. We owned all our own music and publishing. ... Still today, I own 100 percent of my company." But it wasn't always that way, because Birdman failed to grasp the nitty-gritty of publishing, masters, and all that before he negotiated a distribution deal with Universal Records in 1998.

"I've got nothing but love and respect for Universal because they never tried to take that from me," he continued.

“When I went to [Universal], I ain’t even know about publishing and all that," he said. "I ain’t know about none of that. I went to them with… an attorney… Whatever his name was, I just was like, ‘I ain’t trying to give up nothing.' ‘Cause I felt like I lost everything already. I lost my family. Nothing can repay me for what I already lost. I lost my mama, my daddy, my brother, my sister. … I live a hell of a life as a kid, so I ain’t think that none of that could be replaced. So I was like, this is what I want to do. … I want [to] own my shit. I’m going to own 100 percent of my shit.”

He reiterated that he saw multiple labels take from other artists he knew, and he didn’t want the same thing to happen to him or anyone else coming up under him. “I thought I was doing it for everybody that it already happened to," he said. "So I’m going to make sure it don’t happen to me, and I could paint a picture one day when I’m not here or when God take my life, I was able to paint a picture that’s a mold we need to follow” he continued. “But we going to make mistakes, we human. We young and if we come across a lot of money at a young age, we going to make a lot of mistakes.”

He added that he believes his stint in prison ultimately made him a better businessman and take his music career more seriously. “I think my trials and my hardship made me a better person. Did I want that? Fuck no. But did I need that? Maybe," he continued. "It made me a better person. It made me see life different. ‘Cause I was just young in the trenches, but I seen what that could bring to me if I wasn’t smarter and if I wasn’t a businessman. It made me change my life.”

The chat with Steve-O comes not long after Birdman showed support for Drake amid his beef with a laundry list of rappers. "I'm ridin with you 4L," Birdman captioned a photo of himself alongside Drake circa 2010. "I got ur bak."

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