Celebrity Then And Now
Birdman
Name: Birdman
Birthdate: February 15, 1969
Famous Years: 1998 - Present
Currently Known For: Music Production
Networth: $180 MillionFamous For: Co-Founder of Cash Money Records, Rapping Career
Birdman
Name Birdman
Birthdate February 15, 1969
Famous Years 1998 - Present
Currently Known For Music Production
Networth $180 Million
Famous For Co-Founder of Cash Money Records, Rapping Career

One of the most influential names in rap music still to this day, Bryan “Birdman” Williams has made a career both in front of the microphone and behind the glass in the studio to also become one of the richest in the game.

Williams was born on February 15, 1969 in New Orleans where his upbringing was less than ideal. His mother had passed away when Williams was just five years old, and caused him to bounce around for a couple of years until he lived with his father. Back in those days, Williams got involved in a lot of trouble as a teenager. He had been arrested several times from crimes such as robbery and drug possession, landing jail sentences left and right.

Talking about his early life, Birdman says it was a rough time growing up in New Orleans. “A lot of violence, a lot of drugs, killin’, especially in those days,” he said. He added that “New Orleans was just a hell hole, man, it’s just a different lifestyle. Forty years ago when I was a kid, it was even worse back then. Just growing up in the projects. The s*** that we thought was right, not having been taught right that s*** was wrong, until we got older and learned what’s right and what’s wrong.”

After getting out of jail and not having much to his name, Williams adopted the nickname “Baby” and pursued a rap career. Along with his brother Ronald (known as “Slim”), Williams started his own record label in 1991 called Cash Money Records. “I was hoping it would get us out of the projects and into a positive way of life,” Williams said of his label. “And we wanted to help other people get out of this poverty.”

Over the first few years of the label, Williams was signing a lot of local talent, which would help the label to grow. The turning point would come in the late 1990s when Williams later changed his name to Birdman, while also signing the group known as the Hot Boys that consisted of Lil’ Wayne, B.G. and Juvenile. The group helped Cash Money Records begin their collaboration with Universal Records, putting themselves in the mainstream’s attention.

Many of the acts from Cash Money Records had started to become well known, including Birdman who had joined up with DJ Mannie Fresh to form the duo Big Tymers. All of these acts would put out hits that reached the Billboard charts, and the record label was well on its way. With Lil’ Wayne leading the pack, Cash Money Records had their big act, helping to bring in money that allowed them to discover new rappers.

Along the way, Cash Money has signed acts such as Drake, Nicki Minaj and DJ Khaled, just to name a few. Birdman says that the nearly 30 years of success of his record label can be attributed to the fact that he spends a lot of his time in the studio. “We live in there,” he said. “Just working, bro. Same s***, different day.”

Things would get a little shaky starting in 2014 when Birdman and Lil’ Wayne were involved in a feud as Birdman refused to release the highly anticipated album, “Tha Carter V”. The two would have public words for each other, and a lawsuit would soon follow. There were even talks that Birdman were involved in a shooting that almost cost Lil’ Wayne his life, though Birdman was never charged.

In 2018, Birdman says that he and Lil’ Wayne have patched things up, and that the album will be released in the same year. “I’ma make sure (Lil’ Wayne) straight, we straight, and we gonna continue doing what we started,” he said. “It’s important to me that I finish the way I started.” He added that “(Wayne’s) daughter’s my godchild - I love her to death. That’s my favorite. (Wayne) talks to my children all the time. It’s just a weird relationship, but it’s solid.”

Still running his label, Birdman now has an estimated net worth that’s nearing $200 million. In addition to his musical success both as a rapper and producer, Birdman has also said that he’s had ventures in both clothing and oil. Though the finances of those ventures remain a mystery to many, it’s clear that he wants to branch out from more than just music as many rappers have been able to find success over the years.

There’s a recently released documentary that details the early life of Birdman and how he became to be a successful producer. “I wanted to start from the beginning, even before me, before I was born, with my mother and father,” he said of the documentary. “Everything comes from my pops and my moms, so I wanted to start from the beginning before I was even created, up until just being a young man, being incarcerated a lot, up until going to jail and changing my life.”