Birdman performing at Hot 97's Summer Jam 2007
|Birth name||Bryan Williams|
|Also known as||
February 15, 1969|
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Bryan Williams (born February 15, 1969), known by his stage names Birdman or Baby, is an American rapper, record producer, and entrepreneur. He is the co-founder and public face of Cash Money Records which he founded with his older brother Ronald "Slim" Williams in 1991. He is also one half of the former hip hop duo Big Tymers with producer Mannie Fresh.
Along with his releases with Big Tymers and for his solo career, Birdman has released a collaboration album and numerous tracks with rapper Lil Wayne whom he took under his wing at an early age. Birdman has also made his name by contributing to the making of YMCMB (Young Money Cash Money Billionaires), a portmanteau of the former's "Cash Money" and Lil Wayne's Young Money Entertainment imprint under the label.
Williams was born February 15, 1969 in New Orleans, LA. His mother "Ms. Gladys", died when he was two years old. His father, a Vietnam veteran and pimp, also died when he was five. Birdman stated that he was in a boys home and was later homeless. He spent his formative years growing up in the notorious crime-ridden Magnolia Projects in the 3rd Ward of New Orleans. While living in the Magnolia, he began committing robberies and selling Heroin "dope bags" for money. He was later arrested at the age of 16. He was arrested again for Drug possession and was sentenced to 3 to 5 years in Elayn Hunt Correctional Center. He served 22 months before he was acquitted of all charges.
Cash Money Records
In April 1991, Birdman and his brother Ronald “Suga Slim” Williams decided to start their label. They named the label Cash Money Records, after Nino Brown’s Cash Money Brothers in the film New Jack City. At the time, the record label signed rappers Juvenile, B.G., Lil Wayne, Birdman himself, the Hot Boys, Big Tymers, and Cash Money Millionaires Thanks to B.G.'s albums & Juvenile's album Solja Rags (Which sold 200,000 copies independently), Universal Records offered Ca$h Money a $30 million USD deal. Ca$h Money has released RIAA Platinum & Gold certified CDs since then. In 2001, B.G. left Ca$h Money, disbanding the Hot Boys. Juvenile would also depart from Ca$h Money in 2001, but came back for Juve The Great in 2004. In 2005, Mannie Fresh left, disbanding The Big Tymers. Lil Wayne and Birdman were the only artists on the label until 2009 when artists like Drake and Nicki Minaj appeared on the label, bringing Platinum-RIAA certified albums.
1997–2005: Big Tymers
In 1997 to 2002, he joined producer and DJ Mannie Fresh to form the duo Big Tymers. Big Tymers debuted in 1998 with the album How Ya Luv That? and went on to release I Got That Work in 2000 and Hood Rich in 2002, respectively. I Got That Work had the singles "Get Your Roll On" and "#1 Stunna". Although the singles failed to debut on The Billboard Hot 100 music chart, I Got That Work was certified Platinum by the RIAA for selling over 1 million copies in the United States. Hood Rich had "Still Fly", which was nominated for a Grammy, and "Oh Yeah!" Hood Rich was also certified Platinum in the US. Big Money Heavyweight followed in 2003. "Big Money Heavyweight was certified Gold in the US. In 2005, Mannie Fresh left the group & resigned from Ca$h Money. After his group Big Tymers broke up he changed his name from "Baby" to "Birdman".
2005–09: Like Father Like Son, 5 * Stunna, and Priceless
Lil Wayne and Birdman released an album titled Like Father, Like Son. It was certified gold and spawned two singles, which were "Stuntin' Like My Daddy" and "Leather So Soft". He was also featured on the remixes of high selling rap singles such as "We Fly High" by Jim Jones and "Make It Rain" by Fat Joe. In 2007 Birdman released his fourth studio album, 5 * Stunna. The first single, "Pop Bottles", featuring Lil Wayne, was a hit, as was the second single "100 Million", featuring Young Jeezy, Rick Ross and Lil Wayne. The third single, featuring Lil Wayne, titled "I Run This", was a hit as well. Birdman refers to Lil Wayne as his son, not biologically, but emotionally. He expressed his feelings for him in an interview in Tim Westwood's radio show, where he also addressed the photo of them kissing mouth to mouth.
Birdman's first single from his album Pricele$$ was "Always Strapped", featuring Lil Wayne, and the second was "Written on Her", featuring British singer Jay Sean. "Southside", featuring Lil Wayne, was the third single. "Money to Blow" featuring Drake and Lil Wayne was the fourth single. "4 My Town (Play Ball)" featuring Drake and Lil Wayne was the fifth single. "Written on Her" also became Birdman's first UK release in December 2009.
2010–present: Bigga Than Life and future collaboration plans
In 2010 he was going to release an album titled Priceless 2, a sequel to his previous album, but changed it to Bigga Than Life. The first promotional single was titled "Loyalty" and featured Lil Wayne and Tyga. Other collaborations will come from Rick Ross, Young Jeezy, Bun B and Drake. The album was scheduled to be released in early 2011. He released a music video for a possible future single, "My Jewel", which featured Bun B and Young Jeezy. On November 22, 2010, he released the first official single, "Fire Flame", which featured Lil Wayne. Birdman released another single called "I Get Money" featuring T-Pain, Young Money artist Mack Maine and Lil Wayne. On September 13, 2011, Birdman released "Y.U. MAD", featuring Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne. On May 22, 2012, he released "Born Stunna", featuring Rick Ross. The remix, featuring Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj, was released July 10, 2012. The most recent single, "Shout Out" featuring Gudda Gudda and French Montana, was released October 16, 2012.
During 2008 it was announced Birdman was set to release a mixtape with his long-time friend Rick Ross titled The H. On May 16, 2013 Birdman and Rick Ross announced that The H would be released as a mixtape hosted by DJ Khaled on May 23, 2013. The project was recorded during a couple days in 2008. A new compilation album, entitled Rich Gang: Flashy Lifestyle, hosted by Birdman, was previously set to be released June 25, 2013. The album would feature appearances from the many members of Cash Money Records and Young Money Entertainment among others such as Meek Mill, French Montana and Future. A mixtape titled Rich Gang: Allstars was released prior to the release of that album. This mixtape included singles from artists of Rich Gang, such as "Started From the Bottom" by Drake, "Bugatti" by Ace Hood featuring Rick Ross and Future, "Karate Chop" (Remix) by Future, "Love Me" by Lil Wayne featuring Drake and Future, "Freaks" by French Montana featuring Nicki Minaj, "Rich As Fuck" by Lil Wayne featuring 2 Chainz, and "Champions" by Kevin Rudolf featuring Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit, Birdman, and Lil Wayne.
In 2014, Birdman began promoting Atlanta-based rappers Young Thug and Rich Homie Quan. The two had already collaborated extensively with each other. Birdman released a single titled "Lifestyle" featuring Young Thug and Rich Homie Quan from a Rich Gang album. He also released a second Rich Gang mixtape titled Rich Gang: Tha Tour Pt. 1 featuring new music from Young Thug and Rich Homie Quan. The mix-tape featured no music from Young Money or Cash Money artists except Birdman himself, and instead had guest features from artists such as PeeWee Longway, Nipsey Hu$$le, Jacquees and Yung Ralph. Birdman, Young Thug, and Rich Homie Quan had a joint tour planned.
Forbes magazine estimated his personal fortune at US $125 million in 2012. In 2013 he was listed by Forbes.com as the fifth highest-earning star in hip hop, taking in $21 million in the year to September 2013.
Birdman and Lil Wayne had supposedly reconciled from their beef in 2016 after being seen at Drake's NYE Party, at Miami's Club Liv, and in studio. However, a contract dispute still exists between them, with the latter trying to get out of the contract; in 2016, Birdman called off their lawsuit.
Birdman announced the release date of his mixtape with his protege Jacquees on April 26, 2016. This went on to be released on May 27, 2016 and he had other projects released in 2016.
In October 2009, Birdman, Lil Wayne, Cash Money Records and various music distribution outlets were sued for copyright infringement by Thomas Marasciullo, who claims his voice was used without permission. Both rappers asked him to record some "Italian-styled spoken word recordings" in 2006. The lyrics were allegedly used on "Respect" and other tracks from the rappers' collaboration album Like Father, Like Son and Birdman's 5 * Stunna.
In early 2010, Birdman formed an oil and gas exploration company, Bronald Oil and Gas, LLC. The company was a joint venture founded by Birdman and his brother Slim, and the name was a combination of the brothers' first names, Bryan and Ronald. Evidence of the company's actual business operations was scant, limited mostly to a website and the appearance of a "pumpjack" tattoo on the side of Birdman's head. The website indicated that the company's strategy would be to first develop existing land holdings and seek out new oil and gas leases. In February 2010, Birdman told Ozone magazine that he had been in the oil business for "4 or 5 years" and was "making very good money off that".
However, by March 2010, Birdman had almost completely covered the pumpjack tattoo, which sparked speculation that the Bronald Oil project had stalled. An investigative report from Bloomberg revealed that official regulators in charge of oil and gas permits had never heard of Bronald. In addition, Bronald Oil and Gas' website which provided scant details on the venture had since late 2011 been no longer operational.
On April 22, 2016, Birdman disparaged the hosts of hip-hop radio show The Breakfast Club during a live interview, telling them to "stop playing with my fucking name" and to "put some respek on my name". He later issued an apology for his outburst after being awarded the "Donkey of the Day" appellation from one of the radio hosts. The video went viral, and on April 27, 2016, Birdman launched a merchandise line, "Respek", featuring catchphrases from the interview.
- Studio albums
- I Need a Bag of Dope (as B-32) (1993)
- Birdman (2002)
- Fast Money (2005)
- 5 * Stunna (2007)
- Priceless (2009)
- Ms. Gladys (TBA)
- From Tha Briks (TBA)
- Collabrive albums
- Like Father, Like Son (with Lil Wayne) (2006)
- Rich Gang (with YMCMB) (2013)
- Rich Gang 2 (with YMCMB) (TBA)
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- Walker, Angus (2016-07-12). "Birdman Announces New Album "From Tha Briks"; Reveals Release Date". Hotnewhiphop.com. Retrieved 2016-07-14.