The fattening of Cash Money Records' roster didn't stop with the signing of Mack 10 earlier this year.
Co-CEO Ronald "Slim" Williams said that in 2002, the label plans to roll out a plethora of new acts, including singer TQ, much-hyped Philadelphia MC Gillie Da Kid and R. Kelly's former protégés Boo & Gotti.
"We thick, bro," Williams said. "Thicker than a Snickers."
It wasn't a matter of Williams and his brother, Big Tymers member Baby, luring Boo & Gotti from Kelly's Rockland label. Williams said that the duo, who rhymed on both the original and remix version of Kelly's hit "Fiesta," reached out to them.
"They called [us]," Williams said. "We used to see them off and on. They called and were like, 'Man, we're trying to do something.' We ain't want no hard feelings with my man [R. Kelly]. We talked to my man. We're businessmen, he's a businessman."
Williams says Boo & Gotti's deal with Rockland had already dissolved, so there were no issues over signing them. "We liked their style," he said. "We thought they had something. I liked the way they carried themselves."
The feeling was obviously mutual. "Before we bring a person to the label, we like a person to come down and check out the operation and surroundings with the label," Williams said. "We don't just sign a person. We let a person come and see if it's something they like."
So with the next Hot Boys album which Williams said will include Juvenile, who is publicly disgruntled with the label (see "A Happier, 'Sunshining' Juvenile Showcased On Project English") not on CMR's radar until close to next Christmas, how do the artists who helped build the label feel about waiting in the wings while family newcomers shine?
"They know it's a business," Williams said. "They ain't tripping. They are my love. That's my heart. But I love my other artists just as much as I love my Hot Boys."
The group should be represented on Lil' Wayne's next release, which is scheduled for the summer. In the meantime, the top priorities for the label are spring releases from Boo & Gotti and the Big Tymers.
The first release from the revamped label in 2002 is scheduled to be the soundtrack to the Wesley Snipes drama "Undisputed." Although Williams says the album's talked-about DMX and Fred Durst collaboration is still up in the air (see "DMX, Fred Durst To Record Together Again"), Carl Thomas and Trick Daddy have supplied tracks.
"The first release off the soundtrack is 'Undisputed' with Lil' Wayne, the Big Tymers, Mickey and Lack," Williams said. "[The video] is being filmed in a prison in Nashville.
"My concept of the video was to do the 2002 'Scared Straight,' " he continued. "This video is gonna have a real serious message to it [by] showing [the prison system] to the young teenagers through the eyes of somebody that's in jail: 'You've got to make a choice. You gonna get it together, or you gonna end up here.' "