young money

On a cursory level, Young Money is currently the only Hip Hop crew inching toward mainstream acceptance. With the celebrity of Lil Wayne, coupled with the Drake success story and newfound respect for Nicki Minaj, Young Money appears at face value to be on the steady climb. That is until the member-to-talent ratio is broken down, which is where We Are Young Money meets its most dismal moments.

It would be both incorrect and unfair to label We Are Young Money a complete failure. The album ultimately serves its function, offering a platform for the Young Money affiliates to showcase their abilities. Lil Wayne compiled his army from random acts he met along the way (i.e. dancer-turned-singer Shanell ) and people he came up with. Then there are the artists who had clusters of buzz in their careers (Jae Millz, Tyga, Mack Maine, Drake, Nicki Minaj) to which Wayne capitalized on their followings by bringing them under the Young Mula umbrella.

The problem here is that unlike past posse introductory albums (see Wu-Tang Clan’s Enter The 36 Chambers), there isn’t a level playing field where everyone has an equal opportunity to become a star. The individual successes of Wayne, Drake, and Nicki alone make a compilation like this too late for them and too early for the rest. Practically every song on the album features Lil Wayne, even when unnecessary like on the opener “Gooder”, where Jae Millz, Gudda Gudda and Mack Maine grab the reigns to craft a raw track until Weezy jumps in acting silly. The founding father of this whole movement is the one stifling the talent he’s trying to cultivate by either doing better than his constituents or far worse. The existing singles “Every Girl” and “Bedrock” should really just be Wayne and Drake cuts, and Nicki Minaj owns most of the tracks she’s present on including “Roger That” and “Fuck da Bullshit”, two more songs that could’ve done without Wayne.

Ironically enough, neither Drake nor Nicki brought their A-game to this compilation and why should they? This was their first non-mixtape turned album debuts, so they’re obviously reserving their powers for their own individual projects. Still they manage to outshine everyone. The Young Mula premies Lil Chuckee and Lil Twist have their own misplaced track called “Girl I Got You”, and since they both sound like they’re six years old, you can’t help but remember how weird Wayne sounded when he first started out eons ago. As for crew members like T-Streetz, his presence is barely felt except on horrendous tracks like “Wife Beater” and “She Is Gone” where attempts at witty banter about girl problems turn disastrous.

It’s clear that Lil Wayne is attempting to recreate the Cash Money legacy with Young Money. In the CMR pool, the best floated to the top and the rest offered the assist. However, when you’re starting a crew with existing fame, there is no way to showcase a team effort and We Are Young Money is proof of that. If the three most famous members get any more famous, then the rest can just rename themselves the St. Lunatics.