Cash Money Records, the enterprise of Bryan “Birdman” Williams, has joined with Young Money, founded by Lil Wayne, to form a hip hop super group – Rich Gang. Much like the Avengers, this supergroup formed to save the world. Just kidding. It’s pretty much to tell everyone how rich they are.
It can’t be any less subtle with the album titled Flashy Lifestyle, and the high profile artists lending their talent include Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Flo Rida, Kendrick Lamar, Chris Brown, R. Kelly, Busta Rhymes, Mack Maine, Tyga, Limp Bizkit, Bow Wow, Jae Millz, Ace Hood, French Montana, T.I., Rick Ross, Game and Meek Mill. Drake is notably missing from this line-up, but Birdman has assured this is not due to bad blood, telling MTV Drake was recording out of the country at the time.
According to Birdman, the aim of the group was to “hit the studio with some friends and cut a few records”. This sounds a little bit like a half-baked idea on a Sunday afternoon, and from listening to the album, you get the feeling that no one was trying to push any boundaries in song writing or hip hop with Flashy Lifestyle.
The album has a couple of good tracks and half a dozen good appearances from the illustrious “gang” members, but all in all it is a well- worn product offering little to the already stellar albums produced by Young Money and Cash Money Records.
The first single, Tapout, featuring Birdman, Lil Wayne, Mack Maine, Nicki Minaj and Future, encapsulates the tempo and strengths of the album in one song – it’s a highlight that the rest of the singles on the album are trying to reach. It’s a slow-paced, rhythmic hip hop focussing on that elusive “million dollar pussy” and has some great moments.
The word to remember is slow. In a press release, Ronald “Slim” Williams, brother of Birdman and co-founder of Cash Money Records said, “I guarantee that it will be in rotation on every club, at every party and coming out of the speakers of every car”. But I had trouble finding any track that will fill a dance floor- they’re more, ‘time for a drink’ types of tunes. The album is also missing some fun hip hop anthems that I know Young Money in particular can produce. I’m talking Every Girl, Bedrock and Forever to name a few.
On saying that, it’s a good album to relax and listen to, admiring the talents of the multiple hip hop heavyweights. R Kelly sings the hook on We Been On, a small throwback to this legendary artist. Chris Brown and Tyga make Bigger Than Life a catchy up beat tune for the likes of the radio, and Kendrick Lamar’s appearance on 100 Favours reminds us why he’s made waves in the hip hop game this last couple of years. Burn the House shows the talents of relatively unknown Detail, who produced Lil Wayne’s chart topper No Worries. Sunshine in the latter half of the album is an outlier in terms of a star studded club anthem, and features Flo-Rida’s recipe for pop success and a hook from Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst.
It is an album that showcases the musicality of these hip hop artist’s voices, offering a little bit of every kind of rap. But these are the pieces that make up the whole – with the whole becoming more like a mix tape of cut-offs instead of the ultimate hip-hop compilation it was supposed to be. Fans will see the talent within the singles – but those looking for big name hip hop gold should try the individual players own albums.
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