Birdman: On Obama, Katrina, Cash Money's Future Past Paradise
Throughout his career as an
artist and music industry executive, Baby aka Birdman has seen his fare share
of controversy, from beef to lawsuits and everything in between. He has
seemingly remained undaunted by what others may have to say about his style of
music, business practices and even his lifestyle. But behind the music, there
is a man who still carries the weight of a troubled childhood; a son of New
Orleans, who remains just as loyal to his Uptown neighborhood as he has always
been; a father, who would like to provide the most for his children and spare
them some of what he has seen.
Only days before AllHipHop.coms
interview with Baby, President Obama made reference to his protégé, Lil Wayne,
in a speech to the NAACP about the responsibility African-Americans hold
towards the next generation. We took that opportunity to get Baby to open up
about the the topic, as well as Post-Katrina politics and the legacy he plans
to leave behind.
AllHipHop.com: Last month,
President Obama addressed the statistics that are out there for young Black men.
At the same time, he was encouraging young boys to remember that that doesnt
mean you should give up on your life too early. How much influence towards the
opposite do you think you have on your young listeners, not only because of the
subject matter you discuss, but the fact that some people could say that you
affiliate yourself with a gang and youre real open about it? How do you
balance the message youre putting out there?
Baby: I dont think we
glorify gangs. I dont feel the same way other people feel. I love red. Red is
what I do. Thats my blood, thats my neck of the woods, thats my
neighborhood. And I dont feel like I was put here to raise other peoples kids
by my music and how I live. I think that comes from home. I dont even know
your children to raise them. Even in my household, music didnt raise me. I was
raised in the streets.
AllHipHop.com: But at the same
time, 40-50 years ago we dont even have to go back that far. Lets say 30
years ago, being an musician wasnt really something that African-American
children saw as a model of success, as something they could grow up to be. You
could also say that the doctor, astronaut, fireman, or even President Obama
arent here to raise your kids, but the reality is that they see you, they see
what youre doing, youre successful
Baby: I mean, I dont think
its nothing wrong with wanting to be successful and wanting to rap and do
those things. But to speak about how you live and how you done lived, thats
cool to me. I mean, I looked up to people before I became who I am. Thats just
a part of life.
AllHipHop.com: How do you feel
about the fact that, in his speech, the two names President Obama specifically
Baby: Lebron [James] and
AllHipHop.com: On one side, that
definitely shows the level of success youve had. But do you feel like its
also going to draw more criticism for you?
Baby: Criticism been with us
since we started. [But] I dont know how he said it or what he meant by it.
AllHipHop.com: What he said,
essentially, was that just because they might have a good jumpshot or a nice
flow, all of our sons dont need to aspire to be Lebron or Lil Wayne. I want
them to grow up to be a Supreme Court Justice, or a scientist, etc.
Baby: Believe that.
AllHipHop.com: So you agree with
Baby: Yeah. Theres more to
life than just everybody not into just basketball and rap. You got people
thats into other things, but [who] still love music and still love basketball.
Obama, he into Wayne and Lebron. So, to me, its a lot of other things that we
gone get into. Like my little nieces, they wanna be a lawyer so they can join
in and help out.
AllHipHop.com: To this day,
there are still great signs of the effect Hurricane Katrina had on New Orleans.
Talk to us a little about home to you right now. Have you been back recently?
Are you back a lot?
Baby: Yeah, Im back a lot.
AllHipHop.com: But youre not
back living there.
Baby: I mean, Im back and
forth. I go there though. Im not living there, I live in Miami.
AllHipHop.com: Do you see
yourself going back permanently?
Baby: I never left, to me.
We just had to move on to do other things. But thats where Im gone be buried
at, so I dont think I ever left. My house is back up. I love my city. Ill
never leave it.
AllHipHop.com: Whats going on
there now as you see it? Do you feel like the city is on track to get back to
where it used to be?
Baby: Nah, not at all.
Corruption, just the town how its been. Aint nothing ever changed, now just
people get to see more of whats going on. But its gonna take more than what
we can do to even help any kind of way. Its just gonna take a lot. I dont
think nobody paying attention. I dont even think nobody give a f**k. It is
what it is. We gotta live with it. Other people can feel our pain, but aint
nobody living it and going through what we went through and what were going
through. For a muthf***a to visit, they could be like, Oh, thats f***ed up.
But to live it, its real f***ed up.
AllHipHop.com: With you being
one of the people thats lucky enough to be living it from a distance..
Baby: Im always living it,
because my people living it. I feel the pain of what we lost. And what we lost,
we never can gain. Thats scar aint never going nowhere.
AllHipHop.com: So what can you
do to help? Do you think theres anything that you can personally do?
Baby: I mean, try to help as
much as you can, or who you can. But its bigger than what we can do. We tried
to do what we can with our foundations. I like helping the kids out, sponsoring
them with sports and things; tryna help the schools out. But its bigger than
what we can do. But like I say, dont nobody give a f**k, so we just got to
live with that.
AllHipHop.com: But you really
are in a position to bring this to more peoples attention. Like you said, for
an outsider, obviously the minute something else happens in the world, theyre
gonna shift their attention. So for a lot of people, Katrina hasnt crossed
their minds in the last three years at all. Do you think bringing it back to
the forefront would help the people of New Orleans?
Baby: Maybe, maybe not. I
mean, everybody know. Who dont know? We had a f***ed up President when it
happened. To me, dont nobody give a f**k. They know all the homicides going on
too, n****s getting killed on the regular. Thats just something we gotta live
with. To me in life, I dont think crying about it gone solve anything. It
aint gonna make a n***a bills get paid. So we just gotta go for what we know
and live it how we get it. It aint just [getting] like that, it been like
that. So we gotta do whatever we gotta do to support our family.
AllHipHop.com: What would you say to someone who would say
that you guys left and youre not involved with whats going on in the city?
Baby: Thats they opinion.
Everybody entitled to their opinion. You gotta live yours and I gotta live
AllHipHop.com: Outside of the music
and running the label, do you find time to have something else going on in your
life? When you need to get away, what do you do?
Baby: The pleasure of my
life is spending time with my kids; my son Wayne, watching him do what he do,
thats goals for me. Thats my reason for living. I got grandchildren now. I
wanna make sure they have everything in life. Imma spoil them as much as I can.
I want my children to live the life. I want them to be better than me, do
better. Im good with that: if I can just see my children on my off time when
we aint doing nothing. Because, [when I had] my children, we was young, and I
didnt really get the chance to grow up with them like I wanted to, because I
was running with this music s**t. So at this point in my life, I wanna spend a
lot of time with my children and my grandchildren.
AllHipHop.com: So if you
grandchildren decided to go into music, would you support their decision?
Baby: Of course, my godchild into music and my daughter, which is Wayne
daughter Reginae and my daughter Bria. My son not really into it, he into
music. But anyone in our bloodline who wanna do this, Imma definitely do it for
em. Imma help em out.
AllHipHop.com: When its all
said and done, do you think youll ever put Baby and Birdman to the side and go
back to being Bryan?
Baby: Of course.
AllHipHop.com: What will it take
for you to feel like youve accomplished enough to go back?
Baby: I wanna be a
billionaire, thats my goal. And I see an opportunity to do that in music, with
a lot of other ventures. Thats one of my goals in life. I dont wanna be 50
and 60 and 70 years old and still doing music. And still in the buildings like
some of these old heads that be in these buildings and still tryna negotiate
with a youngster 20 years old. Man, I aint got time for that. In my latter
days, I just wanna live my life and be around my family and my kids man, help
them explore life. But I dont wanna be no old man in a building, working with
no company. Nah, Im not gonna do that. Some of these [guys], they 70, 80 years
old and they run the buildings. I dont get that. You been there for so long,
you been doing it 40 years.
AllHipHop.com: So you feel like
youre gonna get to a point where youll pass it off to someone else and thats
how it should be?
Baby: Of course. Im not
gonna be they age still doing that. Im not gonna be old, still tryna do deals
with n****s half my age. I cant do that. Cause I wanna do better than all
them old heads done did before me. All of them. I wanna do more numbers than
them, I want my contracts to be bigger, I wanna do bigger deals, I wanna out do
all of them. And Im in a position to out do them and get more money than they
ever did get. Thats my goal. They did it in they time and we doing it in
modern time, through a recession.
AllHipHop.com: How long do you
think the Cash Money brand will continue once youre gone? What do you think
the legacy will be like?
Baby: The brand gonna be
around forever. Our children gonna eat off it while we dead. From the
accomplishments: the sales, the numbers; I want our doings to speak for us.
Look at our records, look at our sales, look at our ringtones. I dont think its
a company that ever did it better than what we doing it. And we still young, my
son 26. His track record with music gonna be super long. I studied this s**t
before I got in it. I watched Russell, I watched Diddy, I watched Eazy, I
watched the Jermaines, the James Smiths, the Tony Drappers, all these dudes
that I looked up to. And I just felt like I could do it better than them, but I
knew that it would take time to accomplish what we tryna accomplish. Cause I
felt like we had the music to do the s**t. We was brand new. And our thang just
been going forward since I started. Our goal was to reach where they was at,
and then take it farther.
AllHipHop.com: Do you have any
Baby: Nah, I dont live life
with regrets. If I made a mistake, I made it. Im human. Thats just life, we
all gone make them. We cant take them back if we made them. I started this at
18. I was 20 years old with $40 million, straight out the projects. You liable
to make mistakes growing up in this business where nobody showed you nothing.
You went for what you thought was right or wrong. But it all paid off in the
end, and I think we got this s**t down pat, I dont think its another company
that ever been done or did that done the s**t we tryna do. We tryna do that
Michael Jackson stuff over here.
AllHipHop.com: But of course,
the difference is, when Michael had people taking shots at him, it wasnt in
the same realm. And you dont see beef in any other genre the way you do in
Hip-Hop. With you guys, it seems like a new person every other month is taking
shots. How do you deal with that?
Baby: [Laughs] I really dont
be giving a f**k. As long as it aint no threat to my family and my son and our
health is good, I dont care what people say. I cant live for everybody and
how they feel. Thats just they emotion. I cant worry about that. That cant
AllHipHop.com: You know, some
people that come forth, it dont always be about emotion. Sometimes it be
Baby: I mean, thats life
too. It be like that sometimes.
AllHipHop.com: So what was
behind the whole lawsuit with Drama?
Baby: I think Drama just got
caught up. [BCD Music Group] was selling mixtapes, made a few million dollars
off of it, which is illegal. We never do mixtapes to sell em, period. We give
mixtapes away. We believe in giving music away, staying fresh and letting
people hear it. I didnt appreciate them selling that s**t, and when I found
out the bulk that they sold, I [couldn t] see them take nothing from me. Yall
doing that illegal. I coulda fed my family. That dont work for me. They lucky
I aint entertain they ass.
AllHipHop.com: Did the situation
affect your relationship with Drama?
Baby: Me and Drama one
"hunned." That aint interfere with our relationship. Drama got caught in that, I
made sure we took Drama out of that. I spoke with Drama a few times, and his
attorney talked to my attorney, and I made sure he was out of that equation.
AllHipHop.com: While were on
the topic, whats your relationship with Manny Fresh?
Baby: I talk to him
constantly, once or twice a week. I call him, he calls me. Me and Fresh really
bonded again real tough after his sister got killed. Cause you know my sister died
a year before that. When he lost his sister, even when I lost my sister, I think
that kinda really threw all that s**t out the window. Everything. It made me
feel life is short. And I raised them n****s, I brought them in this s**t and I
would like to see them be as successful as possible. I probably will bring Lil
BG back though. Well work with him again.
AllHipHop.com: Do you see a
return to your original roster?
Baby: I wanna do that, cause
thatll bring closure on a lot of bulls**t for me. They definitely a Hot Boys
album, whenever Wayne get a minute to do it. They already done recorded some
songs. But for me, thats something I wanna do. Itll complete a piece of my
AllHipHop.com: Are we gonna see
another Big Tymers album too?
Baby: I dont know if well
do another album, but Imma work with him on music. I think Fresh [is] a great
producer. With all the acts we have, Im definitely gonna work with Fresh