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Trials of TQ: The Cash Money Story

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I think it was ‘99… The Lakers are in the playoffs. I could give a f**k about anything but Purple and Gold right now. I just got a funky a** TV, and I’m stuck on the 405 in traffic trying to get home and puff me one. The first quarter just ended, and I’m watching it in my car. Ni**as is blowing up my phone like it’s Christmas… “Dawg are you listening to the radio?” I’m like, “No ni**a I’m watching’ the Lakers! Why the f**k aren’t you?” My homie tells me that “Them Cash Money ni**as are up at the station calling you out!” Calling me out? I thought it was some beef, but who the hell is Cash Money? “Anyway, hit me after the game pimp…”That’s when I get a two-way from my dawg Julio G. He’s like, “Man if you around you need to come to the station. These N.O. cats Baby and Slim wanna meet you.” Now this is the West Coast. Outside of Outkast and Master P, the South wasn’t bustin’ a grape out here at the time. Now don’t get me wrong, I love South music, just not as much as I loved Shaq and Kobe. Julio is an OG though. Plus he knows the game. If this ni**a texts me and says that I need to link with somebody, I’m doing it. So I did it…I turned around and went back to Hollywood to meet Baby and Slim at their hotel… This could be a sign…Yeah it was…The f**kin’ Lakers lost. Punk a** LAPD gives me a ticket for tinted windows. The valet at the hotel pulls all up on the curb, and all I hear is my Anterras scraping the concrete. When the Birdman pulls up, I’m outside cussing out the whole staff at the Mondrian…Dude got a kick outta that. Him and ol’ Rusty persuade me to chill out, and we walk into the lobby. I’m still beefy tho…Baby and Slim pull me over to a corner and we talk music. They tell me how I’m hot like fire in New Orleans, and I need to get down there and promote. Baby says and I quote, “Lil Daddy, you my favorite artist! That ‘Bye Bye Baby’ sh*t is way too gangsta for R&B… Can you rap?” I’m like, “Homie, I can’t even wrap a gift!” They tell me that they listen to my album so much that the CD warps, and they have to get a new one in every city. I’m watching how all their crew is giving me nods as they walk by. “These ni**as really feelin’ ya boy”… I’m kinda surprised. Baby tells me that they are about to start shooting their first movie and they want me on the soundtrack. I’m with it! We all exchange numbers and I bounce… But not before I give that hotel a bill for my f**king rim…Over the next couple of weeks, me and dude communicate a lot. Baby is a real Laker hater, so we had reason to talk a bunch of sh*t. We always had a little rivalry goin’ on from the beginning and that got us off to a good start. Before long I was going out on the road with them, doing shows, and helping them shut down malls across the US. Then we finally got in the studio… That’s when sh*t really got deep… I did a joint for them on the Baller Blockin soundtrack and I wouldn’t charge them. I’m old school dawg. I believe in the barter system. Let’s just say you owe me big homie… What else you got? What did I tell him that for? For the next two weeks, we did song after song after song. Juvenile, BG, Turk, Hot Boys, Big Tymers, you name it… almost. Seems he was keeping this one little pitbull in his back pocket and wasn’t letting him out. I think it’s time to pull one of those favors…I was just getting ready to start my second album. The Black Suits were calling in everybody – Pharrell, Ja Rule, Warren G, Bone Thugs, E-40, Destiny’s Child, Ghostface and Capadonna, etc… I had my eyes and ears set on one cat… Baby assured me that I wasn’t putting out another album without him on it, so when he came to NY to do the joint, I popped the question. “Can I get Lil Weezy on this album?” The ni**a hesitated, but he couldn’t say no. He owed me. We flew to New Orleans and went to the lab.Now we all know Baby is a showman. Never more than this particular night though. He always looked at his crew as an army. To watch them all in the studio, you’d call them the same, but to watch Lil Wayne do his thang, you knew this was Baby’s ace in the hole. Now I had hung with all the Hot Boys in the city on separate occasions for fun. Me and Juve would tear down the city when I was there. Me and BG would tear down the projects. Me and my ni**a lil Turk would beef ’cause I smoked too much weed, lol… Wayne was just a kid, and I wasn’t going to hang out at the high school, ya dig? The only time the whole crew was together was when we were working. I guess that should’ve been a red flag.It wasn’t. This lil ni**a came in the studio and listened to my record one time down while performing to himself in the mirror. He said to Baby, ”I’m ready.” He didn’t write sh*t down. He went in the studio and killed it with one take. My mouth dropped. Wayne came out the booth, listened, waited for Baby’s approval, waited for mine, and asked for a copy. I was shocked. I watched the lil’ dude leave out and hop in his yellow SLK. He had a chick in the car! The ni**a left it running!! I was done. Baby was cracking his side looking at my expression. That ni**a Wayne had a gift. I knew it and so did Baby…What I didn’t know was that Slim had been calling Sony trying to buy me out of my deal. “Giant” wanted me as an artist at all cost, but Sony was making money off me, and they weren’t trying to hear it. Meanwhile, my sales down South had doubled, and we had the Birdman to thank for that. It got to the point where I would come out in the middle of their show to do my song just ’cause Baby wanted to hear it! Word got back to Sony and they started to panic. They informed Slim that he’d be sued for tampering if he kept it up. So we had to come up with another plan. We met and he told me what was up. He told me that if I could get myself out of that deal, he had a much better one on the table… I’m saying to myself, “Is that possible?” I mean, regardless of the situation, I did have a helluva deal with Sony. I wasn’t selling that many records, but I was making a whole lotta cake… How could he beat that? Anyway, I listened like a dumba** and set about getting myself out of my deal… Plan B was in full effect.Little did I know that there was chaos in the CMR camp. The Hot Boys felt like their money was a little funny. Juve was the hottest ni**a on the planet, everybody wanted him on their record, and Baby refused. Seems the Birdman was Bird feedin’ ni**as, but they kept recruiting for him! Every time I talked to Juve, Doogie, or Turk, they would sweat me about signing to Cash Money. See these ni**as had love for Baby and Slim. Family type love. He should’ve done whatever to keep them boys happy. They would’ve rode for him ’til the wheels fell off, but greed is a muthaf**ka. Greed is why we can never get ahead. There was more than enough to go around, but ni**as f**ked it all up. What can you do with 50 whips? You spend most of your time on the road! When you get home, them sh*ts don’t even start! What’s the difference between an S Class and a Maybach? The 200 stacks that you can use buying Chevys for all your homies…Do u really need another $100,000 chain when you have two at home in the safe already? F**k No! I’d use that bread for more rooms on the road so my 70 ni**as ain’t gotta pile up six or eight to a room. Or maybe I could put it in my ni**as pockets so they ain’t gotta hit the block when we come home… Sh*t, it’s a whole lotta sh*t that ni**as can do with extra money. Ask Master P…Anyway, I flexed on Sony. I’m a G with the paperwork. I got myself outta that deal and made them pay me for it. I got into negotiations with Cash Money, and I figured that it would take a while. See, my lawyer had got his hands on a copy of Juve’s contract just to see what we were up against. It was some bullsh*t! A slave deal with a million holes in it. He made sure mine had two million. He said, “T, I do not advise you to do a deal with these cats, but since you’re gonna do it anyway, I want to make sure that it’s easy to get out of. It’s gonna take some time…” It took eight months. In the meantime, just to keep sh*t rolling, my lawyer got me a song deal with his father, Mr. Clive Davis at Arista. Soon after they wrote me a check, Mr. Davis left the company, and I was free and clear after turning in a couple of pop joints for LFO, N-Sync, and the UK supergroup, Anotha Level. Now that’s gangsta! I was still young. My lawyer knew that I was gonna jump at them Cash Money dollars, so he made it unnecessary. I wasn’t trippin’. When the deal gets done, I’ll be ready for work. He got it done right before Christmas… Ho, Ho, Ho muthaf**kas!The next call I got was from Baby. “It’s your turn, Homie!” “I need you by my side dawg!” I packed up my sh*t and bounced to New Orleans. Baby’s sister Kim picked me up from the airport. She had a bunch of keys and some bread for me. The most important thing she had for me was advice on how to deal with her little brother. See me and Kim was cool from the beginning. That’s my dawg! She was a real TQ fan, and I love her for that. She informed me that they called her brother “Baby” for obvious reasons and to always remember that. I did… It didn’t matter though.I’m a man. I’m always gonna be at least that. I had a career before I met CMR, and they was gonna respect that if nothing else. I stood up to Baby. He’d talk crazy to me, and I’d talk crazy back. He respected that and still does. I had my own sh*t. Whenever he’d get to trippin’, I’d be quick to say, “Man f**k you!” and leave Yokohama tracks in his driveway. N.O. was just like Compton. I could go anywhere by myself and it was love – pretty much. I wasn’t going to the Callio alone pimp… call me what you want! LOL! As long as I was at the studio or on the bus when I was supposed to be there, we’d laugh it off and split a bottle of Cris’… But where was everybody else? Where the f**k is BG? Nile? Turk? The ni**as that were responsible for me being here were not here. That I didn’t understand… Then Baby told me about his “expansion” plan. He was making deals for a Cash Money West headed by Mack 10. He was gonna sign Gillie the Kid outta Philly, and Boo and Gotti, Mikkey, and Strings from Chicago. Sounded great to me! Especially the Mack 10 part…  My one question remained. Where the f**k are the Hot Boys? I finally found out…And next week you will too…Stay tuned for the next installment “Break Up to Make Up.” This should be interesting.Check out TQ’s new album Paradise featuring Krayzie Bone, BG, Jagged Edge, Static Major and more in stores and on iTunes now! www.myspace.com/tqofficialsite

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