Of the collection of ’90s hip-hop label troupes – No Limit Records, Bad Boy Records, Ruff Ryders, etc. – few come close to the success and longevity of the New Orleans goliath Cash Money Records. Boasting graduates like Mannie Fresh, Juvenile (label infighting aside), label head Baby (a.k.a. Birdman) and rap-superstar Lil Wayne, the label seemed to have the most talented and chart-topping crew around. It’s only natural, then, that a collection of the label’s monumental singles would be released.
Unfortunately, Cash Money Records: 10 Years of Bling Vol. 1 is the second such retrospective, one that is sorely lacking when compared with the older and more essential release Cash Money Records Platinum Hits.
Of 10 Years’s 11 tracks, only four don’t appear on Platinum Hits, an egregious oversight that pushes 10 Years toward cash cow status rather than a fresh perspective on the label’s catalog. If you don’t already own the earlier release, though, these seven recurring tracks are must-haves. Cuts like BG’s “Bling Bling,” Big Tymers’s “Get Your Roll On” and the label mates’ collaboration “Project Bitch” are all instant classics. The bubbling, video game blips that signified a Cash Money single run through most of these tracks and are immediately enjoyable.
10 Years’s saving grace as a worthwhile compilation is the strength of the tracks that don’t appear on Platinum Hits. Big Tymers’s “Oh Yeah!” is childishly playful and undeniably singable, while the cut “Still Fly” is an epic track with a jumbo airliner of a chorus and royal horn lines.
A quick look at the tracklist, though, shows what this disc is all about. With nine of the songs performed either by Lil Wayne or Big Tymers (which included members Birdman and Mannie Fresh), 10 Years is a supplement to the long delayed Wayne release The Carter III, as well as Birdman’s recent spot 5 * Stunna. There are no tracks by The Hot Boys (a Cash Money mainstay that even featured Lil Wayne) or Juvenile, and only one by BG.
Another complaint that can be made about 10 Years is all of the incredible tracks that are missing from the Cash Money collection. Tracks like “Back That Azz Up,” “#1 Stunnas,” “Shine” and “Ha” are all sorely missed on a disc that’s supposed to be a reflection of the label’s biggest accomplishments. But if many of these were included on this album, there would be almost no difference between this and Platinum Hits.
Granted, each track on 10 Years is an explosive single with more hooks and quotable lines than anything released in recent memory. Nevertheless, there just doesn’t seem to be any reason for the album’s release with Platinum Hits still sitting on store shelves. But can you really blame a label called Cash Money Records for trying to make money any way possible?
3 out of 5 stars
Cash Money Records: 10 Years of Bling Vol. 1