Cash Money Records Founders get street named after them in New Orleans

Cash Money Records Founders get street named after them in New Orleans

Bryan Williams, sometimes known as Birdman or Baby, and Ronald "Slim" Williams are brothers who founded Cash Money Records and have amassed tens of millions of dollars. They have pampered themselves with every kind of monetary excess possible.

But for the kind of hometown appreciation that money cannot buy, they went back to the Central City neighborhood on Wednesday afternoon, the place where it all began.

Williams Brothers Way was officially dedicated during a brief ceremony at the junction of Saratoga and Erato streets, which is close to the dilapidated building where their mother used to reside and where a local bar still carries her name.

Unlike the renaming of Robert E. Lee Boulevard to Allen Toussaint Boulevard, this was not a complete roadway renaming. Rather, it was a "honorary" title, akin to the April renaming of two blocks of Valence Street as "Neville Way" in observance of the Neville Brothers. These honorary titles are shown with a red street sign instead of the usual blue one.

Additionally, New Orleans rap served as the music for Williams Brothers Way.

The Williams brothers consigned CDs and cassettes to Odyssey Records, Peaches Records, and other neighborhood shops, and they also sold them out of the trunk of their car in the early 1990s. They inked a multi-million dollar distribution agreement with Universal Records, a major player in the music business, a few years later. One of the most prosperous independent record labels in history, Cash Money expanded throughout time.

Terius "Juvenile" Gray was one of the label's biggest earners; his 1998 album "400 Degreez" sold over 4 million copies and gave rise to the timeless hit song "Back That Azz Up." One of the most commercially successful rappers in rap today, Dwayne "Lil Wayne" Carter, put out a number of million-seller songs for Cash Money.

In order to make Wednesday's rebranding a reality, Gregory "Geedy P" Earls, a former Cash Money talent scout, teamed up with politically connected Civil District Court official David Hudson.

They planned it to take place this weekend, which is also the Essence Festival of Culture's 30th anniversary. The first of three nights of Essence performances at the Caesars Superdome will end on Friday with a celebration of Cash Money's 30th anniversary headed by Birdman.

It's unclear who Birdman will perform with on stage. However, two of the four members of Cash Money's legendary Hot Boys quartet—Juvenile and Christopher "B.G." Dorsey—showed up for the event on Wednesday.

The ceremony did not proceed quite as expected. The event was supposed to begin at 2 p.m., but the guests of honor arrived almost an hour later in a procession of black SUVs escorted by a police vehicle. Sheriff Susan Hutson had already departed, as had the TV news teams.

More minutes passed, and none of the recipients came out of their cars. A thunderclap and a flash of lightning at 3:20 charged the throng.

Slim Williams managed to slip between barriers and a gold background with balloons on either side that was erected up on the broken roadway when the security crew finally cleared a short route through the crowd of spectators. Soon after came Baby Williams, his tattoo-covered shaven head.

Senator Royce Duplessis of the state spoke. But in the absence of any amplification, the noisy assembly of a few hundred friends, admirers, and bystanders drowned them out.

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