By Natalia Kopelman
Founded by Lil Wayne in 2005, Young Money is inarguably one of the most important labels in hip hop. Their name reflects the pride of making something from nothing and having reached legendary status, they continue to nurture fresh new talents.
With Mack Maine, Wayne’s lifelong friend and fellow rapper as President, the Mula Gang is known for being a family…If you’ve ever been around them, you know that sh*t is real. Having seen them at the Uproar Hip Hop Festival in Los Angeles last summer, the energy they brought as a group was incredibly positive. The support they showed for each other and the joy they each brought to their own performance was a beautiful thing to experience.
For the five newest Young Money artists, this has been a momentous year. Having performed their first festival together, they also collaborated on the upcoming Young Money compilation album and officially signed to the label. I recently spoke with each of them about what they’re doing now, their creative process and what they want people to know about them.
Get to Know the Young Money Artists!
Check out what makes the newest group of Young Money artists so distinctive. Click the links below to meet the crew.
When Allan Cubas says his life is a dream now, he’s just telling the truth. A second generation American, he believes in dreams and never stopped chasing them.
Just a year ago, Allan says he was struggling. An undiscovered artist, with no manager or real media presence…it was just him, his talent and his drive. Now he’s signed with Young Money and featured on Lil Wayne’s new album. He performed at Uproar and spent five weeks recording with the other Young Money Artists. He’s having one of those moments where you can’t quite believe how great things are, but also you can— because it’s so perfect, it feels meant to be.
“It’s more than I can put into words. I was born in New Orleans. And the age I am, coming up in the era that I came up…Lil Wayne was bigger than an artist. He influenced New Orleans culture. He was bigger than music.”
The youngest of five kids born to a Haitian mom, Mellow grew up in Broward, FL. “Drug use, depression, robberies, gun violence…” Those are the words she used to describe it there. After getting kicked out of high school, Mellow dug into the trenches…trying to flip some money any way she could. She had a son before turning 17 and less than a year later, she came face to face with death.
She was shot in the back outside her mom’s house and the bullet went through her, out her stomach. As she lay on the ground, it started to rain and she thought that might be it, lights out…but she saw her son and refused to close her eyes. She crawled toward the house, blood pouring from her body…and she kept breathing. She pushed through for him. She stayed alive.
When Drizzy P was 15, his friend got some music equipment for Christmas and a beautiful thing happened— Drizzy found his passion. Once they set up in his friend’s basement, Drizzy was there every night. “I really fell in love, so I decided to run with it.”
In 2019, Drizzy connected with his manager Geedy on Instagram. Together, they started their own record label, Above Nothing, and produced an impressive body of work including two albums, several singles and music videos. “Geedy comes up with the concepts for my videos and schedules all my sessions…he tells me where I need to be and what I need to do. He’s taught me a lot about life and always pushes me to be better.”
It was also Geedy who had a connection to Mack Maine. Drizzy met Mack at a basketball gym in Miami and went to a studio session at the Hit Factory that same night. “We played around, basketball…chopped it up a little and headed over to the studio. I played him some of my music and he liked it. Then I got a call, a couple months later, saying he wanted to introduce me to Wayne. That was a real blessing ‘cause I grew up listening to Wayne. He’s been my idol and I’ve tried to emulate a lot of things he does, from his word play to his delivery, to the way he’s able to paint vivid pictures within his songs.”
Music has always been at the center of Kay Kay’s life. “It’s like food, it’s something you bond over.”
The first songs she learned were the National Anthem and "Amazing Grace." Her grandma taught them to her when she was little and singing is something Kay Kay has always been good at. Having seen her natural aptitude, her parents allowed her to explore it and at the age of 8, she was on the Tyra Banks Show. At 9, she performed in The Lion King on Broadway. As a teen she wowed audiences with her performance on American Idol. She says, “I’ve never really felt the difference between doing something I loved and doing it professionally.”
Kay Kay is from New Orleans, so Lil Wayne was always a part of her childhood. He was a part of her parents’ life, they listened to him…and she’s not sure how, but Mack Maine knew about her and reached out. “I think that’s when I knew things were getting serious, when I started getting label interest.” Kay Kay says she was awed by Young Money’s legacy, but their belief in her, was really the big thing.
LulBrudda wrote his first songs in jail, at the age of 13. He’d already been rapping and free styling, but when he got locked up, he sat down and started writing about his life.
Growing up in Longview, Texas, his dad was incarcerated and his mom was also in and out of jail. He was raised by his Granny, who he describes as a “ride or die” woman— the most important person in his life.
“I loved music. I never thought about making money from it…I just had a passion. I grew a fan base and my city, they loved it.”
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A version of this article first appeared in Honeysuckle's 420 print edition, featuring Lil Wayne and Young Money. Get your advance copy now.