Lil' Wayne says that in his new video for "Way of Life," you'll see more of that stunning that's become synonymous with his label, Cash Money Records.
"You know we can't leave alone what made us," he said of the clip. "We first came with the bling bling sh-- and hit y'all with everything. We had to let y'all know we was doing it like that.
"The whole concept is a four-party day," he explained. "Every party we go to, we got Bentleys, Sprewell [rims], ice, Cristal, Jacuzzis, stretches, we doing it. Whatever."
While the themes and corresponding images of success and excess still resonate with the label, Wayne concurred that Cash Money is practically a new company. Besides additions in the past couple of years such as TQ, Mack 10, Gillie Da Kid, Boo & Gotti and Mikkey, most of the artists who first helped Cash Money rake in all those millions are gone from the fold. Juvenile, BG and Turk have bolted, leaving Wayne as the sole Hot Boy.
"The whole thing about this video is, we got a point to prove," Wayne said. "The whole world knows we lost a lot of the artists. A lot of artists have gone their separate ways and it's just me and the Big Tymers basically [of the original remaining acts]. This time we're showing them we're having fun, we still doing it, and we doing it good. Ain't no hard feelings around [here], ain't nobody hurting, we're just having fun."
Wayne said he still talks to his former groupmates and he doesn't want anybody to get it twisted when they hear the title of his new album, 500 Degreez. It's not a dis aimed at Juvenile, who sold over 4.5 million records with 400 Degreez in 1998.
"Its five [hundred] because it's a whole lot hotter," he said, cheering himself on. "Homie put a record out under Cash Money Records, 400 Degreez. That was the biggest selling record we ever put out. Instead of marking it or playing with it, I'm kind of praising it: 'That was 400 Degreez, the biggest selling [Cash Money] album.' "
Aside from his flow, which he feels is criminally underrated, the 19-year-old said his growth is helping generate the heat.
"It's just a whole lot of maturity with me," explains Weezey, who was given his own record company, Young Money Entertainment, by Cash Money co-CEO Baby on his last birthday. "I grew up, I'm into a lot more things. I got a lot more money, I get to go to other places and see a lot more. I'm talking about things everybody can relate to. With Mannie [Fresh] and Jazzy Pha on the beats, it's no way I can go wrong. I don't know if everybody's been sleeping on the boy, but I got one of the best flows in America."
Using Jazzy Pha (who just signed a 50-song production deal with Cash Money, his spokesperson said) for tracks also marks a big change for the camp that has mostly relied on Fresh's track mastering, as is incorporating tidbits from other's people music.
"It's history, man, Cash Money's first sample," Wayne said of "Way of Life." "Me and Baby going back and forth on it, and TQ's singing. It's about stunning."
The more things change, the more they stay the same.