The hottest trend in hip-hop has little to do with music and everything to do with shaping the sports landscape one multimillion-dollar deal at a time.
XXL magazine's Dan Rys reports Cash Money Records is potentially aiming at leaping into the fray of sports representation.
Cash Money Records may be getting into the sports game. The famed record label—home to Lil Wayne, Drake and Nicki Minaj, to name a few—has filed a legal request to trademark the name Visionaire Sports Group, according to government records obtained by XXL. The label has expanded since its inception in 1991 to include a management company, Young Money (helmed by Weezy), a publishing arm, Cash Money Content, and its Trukfit clothing line. With Master P’s No Limit in 1998 and Roc Nation—under the direction of Jay Z—having established sports management and agency companies, YMCMB head honchos Birdman and Slim are setting themselves up to follow in their footsteps.
Bryan "Birdman" Williams and Ronald "Slim" Williams enjoyed quite the accolade from Complex magazine back in February that saw fit to consider the duo the "most powerful" in rap.
Forbes, in their breakdown of the wealthiest artists in 2013, listed Birdman as fourth with a worth of $150 million, adding, "Birdman’s net worth would be well over $200 million if his ownership in the label wasn’t shared."
Not content to be successful in their current venture, the duo is now aiming to spread their reach into the sports world, an endeavor that could be fruitful or disastrous.
As mentioned, and as you are all undoubtedly thinking, Jay Z and his Roc Nation Sports are in the beginning throes of their budding sports agency, one that is off to a promising start.
Most recently, Roc Nation Sports helped former Yankees star Robinson Cano secure the biggest deal of the MLB offseason, signing a 10-year, $240 million deal to take his talents to the Seattle Mariners.
On the other end of the spectrum, Yahoo! Sports' Jason Cole wrote back in 2008 on Master P's famously horrible rookie contract he devised for Ricky Williams: "Under Master P, Williams hired Leland Hardy as his football contract negotiator. Hardy then constructed a rookie deal for Williams that has been used in law schools and business schools as a model for bad contracts."
Rys' report states the trademark was filed Oct. 25 and includes stipulations for, among other things, "Sports agency services, namely, management, representation and promotion of professional athletes; promoting sports competitions and/or events of others."
It's noted that this doesn't mean sports representation is a foregone conclusion, merely that the trademark exists if that is indeed a venture the label wants to utilize.
The other interesting tidbit is the trademark for Visionaire Sports Group means Birdman's company will have a finite time to show they plan on using the name. However, "Cash Money could delay their foray into the sports world by around three years if they so wished."
So we may not know immediately when or to what extent the label plans to rock the sports world. As we have seen, patience is a great asset with these things.
Roc Nation was careful to team up with CAA agency, which handles the more hands-on decisions—at least for NBA deals. This is what Alex Kennedy had to tweet about the relationship back in April.
Jay-Z won't be negotiating deals or anything. As one agent texted me: "This is CAA trying to gain clients who align themselves with Jay."— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) April 9, 2013
Even a man as successful as Jay Z understands that you need some help at times, especially in unfamiliar surroundings.
Cash Money is one of the most visible and powerful labels in hip-hop, but they would do well to learn from victories and pratfalls of those who came before them.
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