DAR Hip Hop: 7 Underrated Cash Money Records Albums

By @TrueGodImmortal

Cash Money Records signed their initial deal with Universal Records 20 years ago, but the label has been in existence for about 25 plus years. While many labels have come and gone, Cash Money still remains and is one of the biggest labels ever in music history. With that being said, over the years, they've had albums that never seemed to get the true credit they deserved. There are a lot of underrated albums in the Cash Money catalog, but today I wanted to focus on 7 albums in particular all from different eras of CMR. Let's get into it.

*B.G.- It's All On U Vol. 2 (1997)

-The catalog for B.G. has some classics in it, Chopper City being one of those. While this album isn't necessarily a classic, this is a very solid listen and it has some of my favorite Mannie Fresh production on it. This project showcases B.G. with a bit more clarity than his previous albums and with features from the Big Tymers and Hot Boys, the project did not disappoint. The best songs on this album: "Get Your Shine On", "Hot Boys 226", "6 Figure", and "Clean Up Man", all of which are enjoyable listens. I think Vol. 2 is better than Vol. 1, and it doesn't get mentioned in the Cash Money catalog like it should. I would rank this album just below Chopper City as his 2nd best Cash Money release. It's All On U Vol. 2 is one of the better CMR projects from their initial run. 

*Hot Boys- Let Em Burn (2003)

-This album really went under the radar but for good reason. At the time of the album being released, the only artist that was left on the label from this group was Lil Wayne. In reality, most of this music was recorded over the years 1998, 1999, and 2000, and it was essentially a lost tapes of sorts for the Hot Boys. That takes nothing away from the quality of it, which was actually very solid and enjoyable, despite being an album that wasn't promoted very well or given the chance to be appreciated. Let Em Burn was supposed to be released back in 2000, and despite it arriving a few years later than expected, the album is still pretty good. Standout tracks on this album include "My Section", "Stick And Move", "Spin Tha Bend", "3 Strikes", and the title track, all of which are top tier  Cash Money songs in the catalog. Let Em Burn isn't perfect at all, but it's a very good listen and an album that should get a little more credit.

*Juvenile- Solja Rags (1997)

-When we look at the catalog of Juvenile, there isn't much in it that's underrated, but he gets the most credit for his work on 400 Degreez and Tha G Code. However, the album that is just as good as those two is Solja Rags, which featured some of his most concise verses and his most raw songs. The production is mostly handled by Mannie Fresh and it's some of his most gutter work, as we learn quickly of the top tier chemistry between him and Juve. From start to finish, this album is a great listen, and honestly, it might be his overall most cohesive project. Tracks like "Who's Tha M.F", "Roll With Em", "Pimpinabitch", "That's How It Be Happenin", and "Money On The Couch" helped round out one of the most important releases in the early era of Cash Money that paved the way for their mainstream success in the following years.

*Lil Wayne and Birdman- Like Father, Like Son (2006)

-While I wanted to put PJ Morton and his debut on this list, nothing about that album stuck out to me over this one. This is an album released during the prime of Wayne and I can remember not having that much excitement for this project at first. I was pleasantly surprised. The album has an older CMR vibe to it, as T-Mix handles the bulk of the production to give it a bit of cohesion. The features are solid, with Tha Dogg Pound, Fat Joe, T-Pain, and Rick Ross, and lyrically, while Birdman is more comedic than good, Wayne picks up the slack as expected. The best tracks here are "You Ain't Know", "1st Key", "Over Here Hustlin", "Leather So Soft", and the mildly controversial hit "Stuntin Like My Daddy", all of which make the album flow pretty well.

*Big Tymers- How U Luv That Vol. 2 (1998)

-This is a big album for the label,  but it is very underappreciated. Let's be honest. Neither Mannie Fresh nor Baby could really rap that well, but they were always entertaining, which is what you want out of a duo with limited skill. They were exactly that, but limited skill aside, they made some interesting music. This album is their most slept on project, if there was such a thing, as it didn't get the love and appreciation that Hood Rich and I Got That Work received. This album has a lot of features of course, as we see Juvenile, B.G., Bun B, and Lil Wayne multiple times, which helps the album be more enjoyable. The standout tracks on the album include "Suge & Pac, Puff & Big (6 Fig)", "Big Ballin", "Millionaire Dream", and "How Should I Ride". Overall, this album isn't a classic, but it's a solid listen and gives nostalgic vibes for the original Cash Money era.

*UNLV- Mac Melph Calio (1995)

-Before Juvenile, B.G., and Lil Wayne were stars, Cash Money ran through one group: UNLV. They were a legendary group through the city of New Orleans, and this album was pretty popular locally and it's slept on by the mainstream. With Mannie Fresh handling the production as always, the group made sure to paint their pictures and tell their street tales as raw as possible. The result is an album that can be seen as an underground classic for sure, and it has such a gritty feel that it just flows very well. Songs like "Nigga I'm Bout It", "Pop Em Up", and the title track sum up exactly what UNLV was all about and this album gave you that in droves. Despite this album getting slightly lost in the shuffle amongst the other great CMR releases, this is still an album you need to check out and enjoy.

*Lil Wayne- Lights Out (2000)

-After his near double platinum debut, Wayne would return with an album that was essentially more transitional than anything. By that I mean that the album was essentially during a process for him where he wasn't the same teenager we had come to know, but he hadn't fully matured to make the albums he would later create. Still, this album was very slept on, as I felt Wayne showcased lyrical growth and despite his playful side showing up from time to time here, he would try to keep it as serious and gutter as possible, and the result was mostly enjoyable. Whether it was the two Hot Boys tracks that are major standouts like "Shine" and "Hit U Up", the Baby featured underground classic "Lil One", the first single "Get Off The Corner", or the insightful and personal "Everything", Wayne showed a bit of depth alongside fun and aggression, making this album more of a precursor to the future Carter series than we realized at the time. This album, like every album on this list, deserves more appreciation for their quality and importance to the Cash Money movement and success.



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