The Cash Money/ Young Money family is coping with the reality of having its leader, Lil Wayne, in jail for the next eight to 12 months, as part of his plea bargain stemming from his July 2007 arrest on gun-possession charges. As part of the deal, Wayne is expected to serve a maximum of 12 months, and with good behavior could serve as little as eight. After he officially enters his plea on Tuesday, the rapper is expected to turn himself in immediately to begin his sentence.
On Sunday night in Miami, Drake, Birdman, Nicki Minaj, Gudda Gudda, Mack Maine, Short Dawg, Jae Millz and several other members of the Cash Money/ Young Money family joined Wayne at club Dolce for a farewell party. Another MC who Wayne started his career with, B.G., was in attendance, as were Wale, Sean Garrett and Houston MC Trae Tha Truth.
But whether Wayne is gone for eight months or eight days, it's still a difficult prospect to bear for the crew that takes its "family" billing quite seriously.
Cash Money CEO Birdman raps about Weezy going to jail in a new Rick Ross song called "Veterans Day," which leaked last weekend and also features Wayne. The Cash Money CEO raps: "Junior doing time/ Kicking up his feet/ A million on the books/ I'm stunning with a fleet." (Wayne's verse on the song doesn't address his upcoming jail time.)
In the new issue of Rolling Stone, Birdman tells the magazine of his inner turmoil.
"Wayne is my son," Birdman told the magazine, with his eyes reportedly welling up. "I've been with him forever. It will be the first time in my life I'll not be reachable to him. We work together, we're on the road together. We're always together. I try not to even think about it. I'm losing something in my soul, in my heart, in my life."
Wayne's absence is felt throughout his crew. Talking to Rolling Stone, Drake described Wayne as a strong individual.
"He's a strong-willed guy. I can imagine it would take a toll on anybody. I just hope that he comes out for the better.
"I think you'll miss everything about Wayne," he continued. "I don't think there will be anybody like Lil Wayne ever again in hip-hop. He paralyzes a room when he walks into it — his wordplay, the excitement that he brings to his music. I think that for eight months, a lot of us will have to work a lot harder to keep hip-hop as exciting as it's been for the last two years."