Excerpted from the magazine for Billboard.com.

After flying high with his 2002 solo debut, "Birdman," Cash Money Records artist/co-CEO Baby returns with his sophomore set, "Fast Money." Due May 24, the album marks a return to the rapper's roots -— in more ways than one.

"This is the first time that we really got a chance to be home in years," Baby, whose real name is Bryan Williams, says.

Cash Money's success "took us all in different directions," he continues. "We were traveling so much, all over the place. This is the first time that I've settled myself down and was able to record without being on the road. You're going to feel that Cash Money vibe -— that music that everybody loved that we came into the game with. All I wanted to do was bring back that feeling."

According to Baby, "Fast Money" isn't just the title of his album, it is also a mind-set. Given Cash Money's success, it's not hard to believe that it is a mind-set he shares with the company. In fact, Baby's achievements in music have spurred him to become a multifaceted entrepreneur.

"Really, it's about making a brand for yourself," he says. "Once you make your brand, everything else will come behind that. But you have to start with your clique and then expand. Eventually, the business will make you expand; it's going to force you to expand in order to survive."

And expand he has. The rapper released his second line of signature sneakers via Lugz March 11. The #1 Stunna shoe follows last year's Birdman model.

"I have a great relationship with Lugz," Baby says. "It's a partnership deal in which I have creative control, and I do create my own shoes. Our combination and work ethics are a one-two punch."

Baby has also moved into the videogame market with Rockstar Games' "Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition," due April 12. Baby narrates the game, which was inspired by popular custom car magazine DUB.

Despite a host of other projects on the horizon, music remains a priority for Baby. His next single, "Neck of the Woods," arrives in a few weeks.





Excerpted from the "Beats & Rhymes" column in the April 9, 2005, issue of Billboard. The full original text is available to Billboard.com subscribers.

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