Ronald "Slim" Williams and Bryan "Birdman" Williams
Cash Money Records
POWER MOVE: Sales of more than 500 million songs worldwide, with promises of a bigger 2013 in store.
THE RUNDOWN: Chart-topping powerhouse label Cash Money wrapped up 2012 in style, finishing the year as Billboard’s No. 1 Rap Songs imprint (followed by sister company Young Money and distributor Republic claiming No. 1 Rap Songs Label), thanks to a formidable hit-making roster that includes Drake, Nicki Minaj, Tyga and Lil Wayne (the lattermost surpassing Elvis Presley with a total of 109 Billboard Hot 100 entries).
Capping the year by selling 500 million songs worldwide, Cash Money was responsible for 1.6% of Republic’s market share for albums plus track-equivalent ones, according to Nielsen SoundScan. That’s not even counting other sideline ventures, like Lil Wayne’s Trukfit fashion line or expanding its roster to include top producers ranging from Detail to Cool & Dre to Bangladesh. The Williams brothers’ 2013 agenda is straightforward: stay hard on the music. “This should be one of our biggest years in music -- period,” Birdman says. The Cash Money pipeline will be overflowing with releases from Lil Wayne, Tyga, Busta Rhymes, Mystikal, Ace Hood and Baby (aka Birdman), as well as projects outside the hip-hop realm such as Jay Sean and PJ Morton.
With an eye aimed at fortifying the label’s international footprint, Baby says there’s something even more gratifying for him and brother Slim: “What we’re doing now -- making our own power moves -- came from hard grinding. Now we’re seeing more rappers who want to be the next Cash Money. That’s what I love about the game: more avenues of opportunity are opening up that help everyone achieve.”
Bryan & Ronald Williams photo by Jeffery Salter