In the late 1990s, Birdman's Cash Money Records became a national success through breakout efforts from artists like Juvenile, B.G., and the Hot Boys. However, after all his artists left, the southern rap label was on the decline with one artist left standing: Lil Wayne.
Putting all their chips on Weezy, the young rapper put the label on his back, and eventually, Wayne would shoot to super stardom. With Birdman handling the business-end, Cash Money has gone on to become, arguably, the biggest brand in hip-hop -- tt's launched the careers of stars like Nicki Minaj and Drake, and is seeing others on the label on their way (Tyga, Cory Gunz, Jay Sean, DJ Khaled, Christina Milian, etc).
After setting his sights on becoming the first hip-hop billionaire, Birdman has begun branching off into other business areas. In addition to the recent signing of rockers Limp Bizkit, who he hopes will help him build a rock arm of the label, he's also launched Cash Money Content, a publishing house for books.
In a recent interview with Black Enterprise, the hip-hop mogul explains why his company chose to get into the book game, revealing that it wasn't just a business move, but also a way to influence the black community.
Below are some excerpts from the interview (via BlackEnterprise.com):
The Cash Money brand has been extremely successful in music industry over the last decade. What made you want to branch off into publishing with Cash Money Content?
One of my personal reasons, I think we should read more as a people. And me, personally, I felt like I should read more. We have so much influence on the music world, I just wanted to convert it with books, and just get us [people of color] to read more. I think reading exercises the mind. To be special in life, we have to be self-educated, and I consider myself self-educated.
What have the fans' reactions to the books thus far?
The whole thing has grown fast. The cross-promotion from our music company to our book-publishing company [has] had an instant impact.
A lot of notable names are on the publishing lineup; how were you able to secure the authors released under Cash Money Content?
We have a [literary] agent named Mark, who really helps us with this company. He really brings a lot of writers like Wahida [Clark] and Ashley & JaQuavis—those are real book writers. Evelyn Lozada [from Basketball Wives] came through Theresa, [rapper] Bow Wow's mama, who is a friend of Evelyn's. I think [with] Evelyn and everything she has going on, her book is going to be very special. I've been a friend of [radio personality] Big Boy for about 15 years, [and] I heard about [his] situation. I wanted that opportunity to be able to do some business with him.
Do you have any plans beyond simply publishing these books and possibly turning them into films?
We're putting out like 10 books this year to my knowledge, so we're just trying to grow with it. A lot of the books that we do I want to turn into movies. We're working on [a] script right now. The whole goal for me is to turn them into movies and to get more of us reading as people.