How A New Orleans Label Went Big: A Prose Poem
Once upon a time there was a white woman named Wendy Day:
“Around Memorial Day of 1997, Day went to New Orleans for a convention. She stopped by Peaches, one of the best known local record stores, to find out what was hot, and landed on a CD by an artist named Pimp Daddy. After a listen, Wendy Day liked the album enough to seek out the proprietors of Pimp Daddy’s label. Day ended up wandering the Magnolia Projects of uptown New Orleans—a strange White lady asking anyone if they’d heard of Cash Money Records.” (522)
The Magnolia Projects (noila, NOYLA) or C.J. Peete Projects was among one of the largest housing projects and notoriously one of the most dangerous. Bounded by Louisiana Avenue, South Claiborne Avenue, La Salle Street and Washington Avenue, the Magnolia Projects were located within the 11th and 12th Wards of New Orleans. At its height, the Magnolia projects had 1403 units. Now redeveloped, the current housing site is called Harmony Oaks.
“Wendy Day drafted an impressive business plan for Cash Money Records, and an audacious deal proposal for such a small label. Cash Money wanted 80/20 pressing and distribution deal—the most lucrative for them, the least lucrative for the distributor. But they also wanted something virtually unprecedented. Before any records were sold, Cash Money wanted a multimillion-dollar advance on sales. Advances of this magnitude were unheard-of for P&D deals.” (523)
“On June 18, 1988, Universal Records announced its landmark distributing and marketing deal with Cash Money Records, for its roster of virtual unknowns: Big Tymers, B.G., Juvenile, and a sixteen-year old rapper named Lil Wayne”
“ [Russell] Simmons thought Cash Money had achieved the impossible by not knowing that they were asking for the impossible. Their ignorance, he presumed, was their strength. But the Williams brothers [owners of Cash Money Bryan “Baby”["Birdman"] and Ronald “Slim”] knew, because Wendy Day taught them.”
Wendy Day eventually had to sue Cash Money for default of payment for brokering this lucrative deal with Universal. As such, you won't find her name in the Cash Money history. In fact, when Lil Wayne raps that he made the game, that he taught everyone how to do this, that he was the trail blazer; well, as part of Cash Money at 16, he was. Cash Money changed the rules and changed the game. But they also predictably erased one of the game changers: Wendy Day.
"In early 2010, Birdman launched an oil and energy venture under the name "Bronald Oil" with his brother. "Bronald" is a combination of his name, Bryan and his brother's name Ronald. Their plans were to explore and develop oil resources in the U.S. Gulf Coast and Oklahoma Osage County. Bloomberg.com has reported that Birdman has declined to provide info about the company. The company is registered to a Miami condo and phone numbers associated with that name do not take incoming calls."
New Orleans rap: a myth
New Orleans Cash Money: a myth
New Orleans: a myth
Excluding final quote, all quotes from The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip Hop by Dan Charles (New American Library, 2010) pp. 522-525