For Bryan "Birdman aka Baby" Williams, life's a beach and he's just playing in the sand. The New Orleans bred, but now Miami-loving mogul is a staple in the rap game, running sh*t with his YMCMB (Young Money Cash Money Business) label that boasts next-gen hip-hop heavyweights like Drake, Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne. As the music business continues to change, keeping the label as a valuable commodity is not only a priority for Birdman, but a way of life that the 5* Stunna man reps to the fullest! We got the chance to scope out his latest toy —the fire flame red $2 million Bugatti Veyron from his notorious delivery video —and get a glimpse of what makes the Birdman tick.
On The Bugatti:
What made you purchase your Bugatti Veyron?
Well really, Wayne came to me and told me he was about to get one and thought I should get one. So I mother f*cken fell for it. I love it. It's something that everybody ain't gonna get, so that's my love for it.
This isn't your first red vehicle. Why the love for red?
My love for red or red cars? Red cars, I just think red is a fly color. It's hot; represents heat. It's the flyest color out there and it just blinds me.
How often do you drive it and where do you drive it?
I drive it to go to the mall and places. I'm a workaholic, so back and forth from the studio to the crib and maybe to the condo. You know, we stay in work mode but we might hit LIV [nightclub at the Fontainebleau in Miami] on a Sunday, but besides that back and forth to work…that's it.
Have you taken it to its maximum potential yet?
I've gone on the interstate and busted, maybe, 160 [mph] going to the Heat game. Besides that, I don't really play with speed. I ain't one of them that play in that world. I do like it 'cause it's fly and the fastest car in the world and it's expensive, but I don't like playing with too much speed.
Is the maintenance on it really what they claim it to be (estimated $300,000 annual upkeep costs)?
Mine, nah…maybe because I don't drive it that much. I've never had no problem on it except a few scratches, but I come back and get them touched up. But besides that I ain't have no maintenance problems. I don't think you should have a maintenance problem on the car unless you're really humping it. You have people overseas really driving the cars hitting the max…200 and sh*t. They be making it do the 3. See that's 300 on the dashboard. If you got that key, you can bust into another 100-something. If you putting hard body work into it like that then maybe. But the way we ride, nothing's wrong with it.
What made you want to document its delivery on the Internet?
Umm, it just happened. I called Derick G. up. We be working together a lot now and he knew my sh*t was coming and I was like, "Meet me at the studio. Let's pop it off…f*ck it." It was cool; I'm glad I did it.
Can you explain the story behind the "I Am Expensive" card that's shown?
The "I Am Expensive" card is my partner's card, Derick G., that's his sh*t, that's his slogan and I felt it fitted me. Did it and he just put it in front of the camera, now I like f*cking with him and everything.
So what are your thoughts on the current trend of rappers getting Bugattis like Jay Z, Flo Rida, Chris Brown and Lil Wayne, as well as Tom Cruise and Tom Brady?
I think its cool; it's like an achievement. You know, sh*t, everybody can't get them. We were the first to have them. You flossin' like that to me, I'd f*ck with them. Everybody should have them…this sh*t is hot. They hot, they hot! That's the hottest whip in the world. Nothing f*cks with a Bugatti! Nothing, man.
On The Empire:
How did your interest in music originate?
Umm…you know, I just liked the music. Grew up in a bar. Always into gangsta sh*t. My favorite group was NWA and I liked Ice-T. Back then, I was heavy into gangsta sh*t…
How did your monikers "Birdman" and "Baby" come about? Which one do you prefer to go by and why?
Birdman and Baby…wow. Baby the root—that's where it comes from. Birdman is today and was built from Baby. I f*ck with both of them, so it don't really matter to me.
When did it first hit you that you had become successful in the music business?
Sh*t, them checks make you feel like you successful. Man, 30-50 million dollar checks…that's when you know you made it. Cashing out hundreds of millions of dollars, you really know you made it. Your "lifestyle" makes you know you made it and your grind, too, 'cause you have to be a hard worker to sustain it. Hard work, checks and accomplishments keeps me working for them.
What's business like for the YMCMB label?
I just think we in a different pocket with our music. We've been doing us and that's us being different. We stay with great talent around us and have a great team. And we know what's happening—we the n*ggas, we the business…that's what we do and that's what it's all about. We goin' to keep doing it…doin' us.
How do you think you've evolved as an artist?
Well, my track record speaks for itself, but just growing. Sh*t, what a n*gga's doing is what every n*ggas are doin' in this, just trying to grow, man. Just growin'…
The music and hip-hop industry have both drastically changed since you first started. What are your thoughts on the current state of both and where's your place in it? What about Cash Money Records?
Sh*t changes a lot. I think we have to keep it going as a brand, as a company. There was a lot of people doing this sh*t and did this sh*t before us, I just think what we reaching for is a lot, first of all. Second thing, we keeping the brand goin' and growin' as a company. The Cash Money Young Money…that's the whole focus. This came about in '89/'90. We knew what we wanted to do with Cash Money Records—it's all about money at the end of the day.
How has the label evolved over the years and what does 2011 have in store for Cash Money?
We evolved over the years like any other thing, but hard work that's never changed. That's what this sh*t is built on and we staying focused.
Who are the hottest acts on the label right?
You know, there's Weezy, he's always hot, peeps on our label…everybody's hot!
How would you describe your relationship with Lil Wayne?
My son, you know. Father, son.
Your collabo album with him, Father Like Son, is in the works. What's that gonna be like?
Really raw—just that raw, uptown classic music. He do what he do, and I do what I do. We that father, son type. This sh*t be cool when we put it together…super fly!
How do you go about differentiating your roles as a CEO and as an artist? Do you have to have different mindsets going into both?
I guess I've been doing it so long it's, like, natural for me to turn it on and off. I know what I want to do, know what we doing, when to control our own destiny…it's easy for me. I love them both, but they both a challenge. When you trying to grow, everything is a challenge. So f*ck the challenge. I've always believed in multitasking. You should be able to do 100 things at one time.
On Some Random Sh*t:
Behind Jay-Z, you hold the No. 2 spot as the richest rapper. Do you hope to one day take that No. 1 slot?
Ummm, you know, nothing against him, but we just hustling. I'm not looking to be taking nobody's slot. I don't know what another n*gga do because I feel no other n*gga is in our slot or in our way. So for us, we just focus on what we doing. What the next man doing don't matter to us. We just continually focus on what we trying to accomplish.
Does money truly bring happiness in your opinion or does the saying that there's more to life than money is all BS?
Money is happiness man, f*ck it! Rather have it than don't' have it 'cause either way I'm gonna want it…that's just life.
Having achieved so much in life already, what's left on your list?
I want to be a billionaire. I ain't a billionaire. That's the goal…to be a billionaire, like, the whole brand…just everybody! Too much money to eat, sleep, too much fun… just living life…
How do you define success?
That's a hell of a word. Young Money Cash Money is success.
When you hit roadblocks in life, what do you do to get through them?
I love them. I love taking a loss and turning them into a gain. I let it become my motivation. We've been hit with losses, but instead of falling, we stand up with our chin up. Try not to ever let a loss get you, in life.
There ain't any.
Is there any other business ventures/projects you have your eyes on besides music?
Music, movies, TV…that's what it do for us.
What type of legacy would you like to leave behind, as an artist, businessman and person?
Wow, I don't see that far yet, so I'll let them judge that when I get there. Right now we grindin' and hustlin' all day.
On His Ink:
How many do you have and which is your favorite one?
I was just asking myself that. I didn't know I had this many. I really don't know. Honestly, I've stopped counting. I never did count them, but my best ones I'd say is my five stars on my head. Sh*t…that sh*t represents a lot, all five of them. And my son on my chest. My whole family tree is what's scripted on me.
YMCMB…that's all that matters to me…
Photos: Derick G. | www.derickg.com