When the once rigid familial order of iconic hip hop record label Cash Money Records started to unravel in 2014, it was on the back of two decades of success that gave rise to the careers of hip hop kingpins Drake, Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj.
It all started when, in a move that betrayed their father-son relationship, Lil Wayne slammed Birdman and Cash Money Records several times in his mixtape, Sorry for the Wait 2, for holding him “prisoner” and standing in the way of the release of his 12th studio album, Tha Carter V, which has yet to be launched.
Yet Cash Money did not collapse and Birdman and Lil Wayne are now trying to patch things up.
The recent drama with South African record label Cashtime Life (which has a curiously similar name), has made Cash Money Records’ issues seem like child’s play.
With barely a few years together as a collective this all-star cast, which once consisted of industry bigwigs Kid X, Maggz, Ma-E, Moozlie and K.O, is crumbling before our eyes.
The exodus was not really sparked by Smashis and Ntukza’s exit some years prior but rather that of Kid X a few months ago.
Largely recognised as the group’s most natural talent (K.O once said he was supposed to be the Drake of Cashtime), Kid X’s departure left the rumour mill swirling and the label scrambling to recover its image – so much so that K.O, who was until this point relatively silent on any rumours of internal dissent, seemingly lost his cool and released a song titled Fall Back, to set the record straight.
Soon afterwards, he released a statement revealing the reason behind the formation of Cashtime Life – to “create a platform that was not only a business but also a creative hub that would help me and other young, energetic and like-minded artists to get their dreams out”. However, he then noted that “sadly, not everyone was on the same wavelength”.
When I spoke to Moozlie sometime last year about her departure, a few months before Kid X’s, she cited differences in creative direction and a need to venture out on her own as reasons for leaving the label.
She also made a point of emphasising that she only had good memories of her time there.
Maggz recently followed suit, departing the once formidable group and leaving K.O and Ma-E, both executives within the label, as the only ones remaining from the original all-star cast.
On Twitter, where “tweeps” imprudently share their opinions as facts, K.O has been unfairly painted as a dictator who is greedy for the spotlight.
I say unfairly because, apart from Ntukza, no credible source from within the label has questioned his leadership and we just don’t know what’s going on inside Cashtime.
The pressure was heavy on K.O last year. He virtually became a non-entity as a solo artist, due to, by his own admission, his focus being on attempting to guide the label’s roster of artists. With his announcement that he won’t be signing any more artists and will instead be looking to his own career, it looks as if the label will be changing the way it does business this year.
This month, he set the ball rolling in what already looks like his most crucial year yet with the release of the single, Pretty Young Thing. It sees K.O using a similar formula to that which made his sing-song ballad Skhanda Love his most successful single outside of Caracara.
This is evidently a winning formula and, for the sake of Cashtime’s existence, let’s hope he sticks to it.
K.O – who is now focusing on his career after mentoring artists at Cashtime Life – has just released a new single, Pretty Young Thing.
Sadly, not everyone was on the same wavelength at Cashtime Life.