With all of his elaborate possessions – from jewels to cars and homes; his cash money making ventures- from music to videogames to shoes and clothing; Bryan “Birdman aka Baby” Williams is poised to continue shining in everything he does. The New Orleans bred, Miami loving and living, artist slash entrepreneur, has spent over a decade perfecting his hustle and adjusting his swagger to the beat of his own drum. The mega-house that Birdman helped to build, alongside his brother Ronald “Slim” Williams, is known to legions of fans as Cash Money. As they celebrate the tenth anniversary of the 45 million selling, gold and platinum plaque adorning, Cash Money Empire and reputation, the man with many nicknames unleashes his third solo effort, 5 Stunna, to hip-hop fans everywhere. “My nicknames went with the time I put in with my music. Five star stunna, that’s me doing me, just Bryan Williams, the stunna man.”
In preparation for his latest release, the Cash Money co-founder, CEO and platinum-plus star has kept busy. Having suffered loss and persevered to regain himself, Birdman spent the past two years performing with Cash Money signature superstar Lil Wayne. Fresh from their pairing Like Father, Like Son and the wildly successful single “Stuntin’ Like My Daddy,” Birdman is clear on whom he represents “we do our music for the people,” and the people kindly acknowledge him in return.
In his music as in life, Birdman injects himself fully into the mix at an aggressive, accelerated rate. “When I do an album I want it to be me, my personality, my character, what I love, what I live for and I think in my music, that’s what I bring across,” explains the high ranking influential. “I’m into cars, nice beautiful things, and I think on this album, I brought you along into my personal life. I went into more depth about the things I’ve been through and our life experiences.”
The first single and video from 5 Stunna, “Pop Bottles” featuring Lil Wayne, sounds like classic Cash Money. Reminiscent of the archives from the CM vault, time spent with the Hot Boyz and Big Tymers, the speeded up synthesizer that pounces like a southern bounce record, yet creeps in on the low, is contemporary, five-star quality. When Birdman and Wayne crafted the lyrics for the track, they were doing what they do, toasting their recent success ‘poppin’ bottles.’
5 Stunna carefully weaves a cautionary tale not only from the perspective of its official G, but also from the perspective of the old man narrator from the Like Father, Like Son album. As the Italian wise guy walks with Birdman intermittently throughout his five star excursions, he drops gems along the way about the game, loyalty and family business. “I wanted that input from him, like I was just going to see the old man to get the blessing.”
One of the blessings Birdman received was a star studded collaboration with the Cool & Dre produced second single and video, “100 Million.” Representing the new Cash Money, coupled with the vibe and beauty of Miami, DJ Khaled provides the ad libs over the airy track almost befitting of rock anthem status in sound. Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy and Rick Ross lend their own unique brand of braggadocio into the mix lyrically.
Birdman wears his confidence like a five star general wears his medal of honor. Between swank talk – “I’m A Stunna” and “Believe Dat” featuring Lil Wayne; preparedness – “Fully Loaded”; work ethic – “Grind” featuring Lil Wayne and Cash Money newcomer Brisco; passing the torch – “I Run This” featuring Lil Wayne and power play takeover techniques – “Make Way” featuring Lil Wayne and Fat Joe, Birdman keeps his skills sharp and his hustle respected inside and out of the studio. “The stuntin, the jewelry, cars, Cash Money, Hot Boyz, I’m already a legend, but right now I feel like I need to re-do this.”
Beyond his music, Birdman expresses his feelings through the artistic medium of tattoos. As the teardrops on his face symbolize loss, the rest of his body has been utilized to heal beyond the suffering with each tat representing blood, love and money.
With his hometown still in recovery from the devastation known as Hurricane Katrina, “Love My Hood” is a story Birdman continues to share. The piano creeps in on the TMIX (Cash Money in-house producer) track as Birdman identifies his hometown pride while recognizing his desire to live life to the fullest because you never know when it will be taken away from you.
What it’s like for the Birdman is a constant grind with him at the helm of his ship and in control of it all. “It don’t ever stop, you got to be able to wear as many faces as your range can go.” 5 Stunna represents his evolving music side while the entrepreneur is preparing for the release the next installment of his wildly successful Birdman Shoe Collection via his endorsement deal with Lugz in the summer of 2008.
When you look at the Birdman and wonder how he balances it all, his game face is on and his focus incorporates laser-like precision. “You gotta go everyday. Nothing happens too fast or too quick. It’s a process and everyday I feel like I put something towards it. You don’t want it to miss you, so you’ve got to keep walking.”
As the music business continues to change, keeping Cash Money as a valuable commodity is not only a priority for Birdman, but a way of life that 5 Stunna represents. With an open-mind and a hustle mentality, the legacy Birdman wants to leave behind – “we won’t stop, slow down or change. We’re about to get bigger and better. And that’s how real 5 G puts in the work.”