By Keith Nelson Jr (@Jusaire)
For a five-part series, I will use quotes and coaching tips from the greatest living NBA coach, Phil Jackson and help five rap labels in turmoil fix their situation. His book Eleven Rings and various interviews will be used.
Young Money/Cash Money Records
One of your few successful artists that isn't Lil Wayne, Drake and Nicki Minaj is engaged in a beef with a teenage gangster rapper from an area where teenage gangster rappers publicly laugh at other teenage gangster rappers deaths they may or may not have caused. Tyga has only released two solo albums in the five years that he has been signed to Young Money and he is on the verge of potentially starting off beefs between regions with a diss song entitled "Chiraq to LA".
Durk released a diss to Tyga on a song with Meek Mill that remixed a Nicki Minaj song less than a week afterJay Z appeared on a DJ Khaled song with Meek Mill subliminally dissing Drake (and lacrosse). Tyga's response was on a song featuring The Game who for the most part took that opportunity to 1. these are puppies, and 2. address his own rivalry with 40 Glocc. Tyga, like the majority of the new age of Hip Hop, is a self-conscious follower who needs guidance from older heads (Travie McCoy of Gym Class Heroes, Lil Wayne and Birdman of YMCMB). Phil Jackson dealt with overly boisterous younger players during his coaching days and remarked in his Eleven Rings book that the only way to curtail such behavior is to lead by example:
That year I stopped pacing along the sidelines during games because I noticed that whenever I got agitated, Dennis [Rodman] would become hyperactive. And if I argued with a ref, it would only give him license to do the same.
Wayne and Birdman need to intervene quickly and visibily but subtly. Wayne should release a song with Meek Mill (or Durk) within the next few months. Birdman needs to sign some rapper Chicago. Tyga needs to release a song with his album's executive producer Kanye West(preferably featuring Kanye's "Hold My Liquor" collaborator Chief Keef) in order to bolster street cred in Chicago and do damage control for the entire YMCMB.
Or YMCMB could just pay him to shut up. I mean, Tyga has stayed on a label he admittedly has not received a royalty check from.
Drake seems to be leaning towards independence, similar to Kobe Bryant when he entered free agency in 2004. Three months after speaking on complications with his Young Money contract and lack of communication with Nicki Minaj on "Tuscan Leather", he started his own label OVO Sound on Warner Bros. Records (outside of the Cash Money/Young Money family's Universal Music Group home). While Drake has made numerous public appearances and statements to squash such speculation, no Young Money artist (besides a Birdman on "The Language") was featured on Nothing Was The Same and Drake's only contribution to the Young Money's 2014 compilation Rise of An Empire was a song he admitted was meant for his own solo album.
Drake has stated "I'll compromise if I have to, I gotta stay with the family" so he is definitely still under their control to an extent. However, after Pusha T informed the world on 2012's "Exodus 23:1" that Drake was "signed to one nigga that signed to another nigga that's signed to three niggas", Drake's allegiance to Young Money/Cash Money has become less genuinely gleeful and more business-like. Phil Jackson would advise to not fight against such a domineering young talent as Drake's but to work with it, deceptively:
I didn’t dictate to him what I wanted; I simply pushed him to think about the problem in a different way, mostly by asking him questions about the impact that this or that strategy might have on the team. 'How do you think Scottie (Pippen) or Horace (Grant) would feel if you did this?' I would say. I treated him like a partner, and slowly he began to shift his way of thinking. When I let him solve the problem himself, he was more likely to buy into the solution and not repeat the same counterproductive behavior in the future.
Giving Drake the idea that he is on equal footing with the men who essentially write his checks, would help subside his feverish desire for independence. Maybe Young Money/Cash Money's new Visionaire Sports Group could partner with Drake, especially with his close ties with Johnny Manziel. What if Young Money/Cash Money helps give Drake all his publishing rights for all his albums in exchange for a 10-album deal with YMCMB.
But as Jackson stated, simply imbuing a superstar talent with the feeling of leadership was half the battle, showing them how working against the team would damage the entire team is the other part. Nicki Minaj actually helped with this during a July 2013 interview on The Funkmaster Flex show where she addressed Drake's "Tuscan Leather" lyrics. Before stating that "what Young Money/Cash Money did for NICKI MINAJ, I can never repay them for" she let loose a riddle aimed at Drake:
Sometimes people make moves based on their perception of what reality is. I know that sounds like a riddle, but maybe one day you’ll be able to unravel that one. All I can say is this, Lil Wayne is everything to me. I can’t speak for anyone else.