Whether some people want to admit it or not, Young Money would never be ‘Young Money’ without Lil Wayne, Drake, and Nicki Minaj. The three A list rappers are the reason this group ever prospered in the rap game. Think about it, when you think Young Money, the first set of names that come to mind is ‘The Big 3’. Granted, some may feel like Nicki is not that lyrical, Lil Wayne isn’t as great as he used to be, or Drake is overrated. Those are all opinions, but the fact of the matter is, these three rappers have marked their territory in today’s hip-hop game. They’ve been killing it since they’ve arrived in the rap scene; dominating charts, breaking records, making an empire, and continuing to have an impact when they release new music.
Here you have Lil Wayne, started off just an artist under Cash Money Records, as a member of the Hot Boys, to now having his own record label. Young Money Entertainment had to be the biggest career move Wayne has ever done leaving his imprint. And you can’t forget the unforgettable masterpiece we call an album, ‘Tha Carter III’ which analyzed Wayne as the lyrical genius we know him of today. The man who went in the booth with no pen or pencil, just his words and his thoughts and killed it every time. The album that sold 1.006 million copies in it’s first week, not month, week. Wayne was definitely unstoppable in that moment. Wayne broke the record of Elvis Presley for the most Hot 100 appearances, got an entry in the ‘Guinness Book of World Records for most rap singles in the US Hot 100 charts surpassing Jay Z, and had a successful clothing line with ‘TRUKFIT’. Today, although some might claim they’re no longer a Lil Wayne fan, his music definitely still has an impact on a lot of people. There’s so many people anticipating the release of ‘Tha Carter V,’ which is said to be released this year. Lil Wayne will forever be appreciated in the rap game, especially to those who are fans of Drake and Nicki, because without Wayne, there would be no them.
Now, let’s talk Drake. Where do we even begin? Aubrey Graham has been killing the rap game since he dropped ‘So Far Gone’. Although he had two mixtapes prior to that, this was the body of work that put him on the map. Drake’s debut album ‘Thank Me Later’ debuted on Billboard 200 with 447,000 in its first week, half of the rappers now still aren’t doing these numbers. “I’m lookin at they first week numbers like, ‘What are those?’ I mean, you boys not even coming close,” said Drizzy in ‘Weston Road Flows’. That particular track you can find on his 4x platinum in the U.S. and 12x platinum WW album ‘Views’. And it hasn’t even been out for a year yet. Come on, man you can’t deny Drake of his talent. The guy definitely has it; flow, bars, punchlines, metaphors, it’s all there. Some people just feel like he’s praised more than he’s deserving of, and that’s fine, but give credit where credit is due. Drake is top 5 out right now, or number one let him tell it. Drake has the title of ‘Highest Selling Digital Album of 2015’ with ‘If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late’, hosted the ESPY’S, hosted the iconic SNL, already has 85 Billboard Hot 100 entries, and his latest project ‘More Life’ broke records being streamed 89.9 million times on Apple Music in 24 hours and 61.3 million times on Spotify. For so many people to think he’s overrated, they sure are listening.
And then you have the Queen of Rap, Nicki Minaj. And if you don’t like that title, we can go with a more direct fact, the highest selling female rapper of ALL TIME. How did this little island girl from Trinidad and Tobago, came and surpass every female rapper that has ever touched the mic before her? Questions you need to ask the public. For so many people to dislike her, her music sell like hotcakes. Nicki’s first album ‘Pink Friday’ debuted at number two behind Kanye West with 375,000 copies in its first week. Female rappers don’t do those type of numbers anymore. This album has went on to be 3x platinum in the US and 5x platinum WW, with an 8x platinum single, ‘Super Bass’. Nicki’s second and third album ‘Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded’ & ‘The Pinkprint’ have both went 2x platinum. Nicki broke the record of becoming the first woman to score four simultaneous top 10 hits on Billboard’s Mainsteam R&B/Hip Hop chart, something only two people on her team has ever done (Lil Wayne & Drake). Nicki has been in movies, has a clothing line, a successful drink called Myx Moscato, and just recently passed Aretha Franklin for Most Billboard Hot 100 Hits of Any Female Artist in history with her three latest tunes: ‘No Frauds,’ ‘Changed It,’ & ‘Regret In Your Tears’. She just seem to keep making it harder for these other female rappers to catch up. In between her double entendres and swiftness to change her flow; with a new album said to be released this year, no matter how tired people may be of Nicki Minaj, it doesn’t look like she’ll be stopping anytime soon.
Lil Wayne, Drake, & Nicki Minaj are the epitome of Young Money, and has always been. ‘The Big 3’ definitely holds the crown as some of the most disliked rappers at times, but no matter what people think of them, their constant achievement in music will be around for many years to come.