various artists :: Cash Money Records - 10 Years of Bling Vol. 2 :: Cash Money/Universal Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

In the hustle and bustle of the 2007 holiday shopping season many hip-hop consumers overlooked the December 18th release of "10 Years of Bling" from Cash Money Records. They're not alone since the review staff of double R overlooked this compilation too. From looking at the lineup of "Vol. 1" there's no doubt the album included some of the biggest hits in CM's history - "Bling Bling" by B.G., "Tha Block Is Hot" by Lil Wayne, "Get Your Roll On" by the Big Tymers and more. Juvenile however is conspicuous by his absence - no songs attributed to him as an artist whatsoever. Despite a very public falling out with his former label he put Cash Money on the map with hits like "Ha" and "Mamma Got Ass" not to mention the ubiquitous "Back That Azz Up." One would also suspect that in "10 Years" they could come up with more than 11 songs for a compilation album, which may have left the few who did get "Vol. 1" when it was released feeling shortchanged by their purchase.

"10 Years of Bling Vol. 2" is an ideal opportunity to improve upon the first volume by providing more bang for the back and a more comprehensive selection of Cash Money's hits. They've addressed one of those issues by providing 15 songs this time instead of just 11, although Juvenile is STILL conspicuously absent from this compilation. Bryan 'Baby' Williams undoubtedly feels the easiest way to avoid having to give Juvenile even a dime of his money is to not include any song he ever recorded or appeared on. The problem is that as the CEO of Cash Money he should be above being that petty particularly given that this cuts a huge swath of the CM library out, including songs Baby himself appears on. Big Tymers "Drop it Like It's Hot" and "#1 Stunna" both failed to make the cut on either volume of "10 Years," and Juvenile appears prominently in both. Don't expect any Hot Boys songs either, which is odd given "We on Fire" includes Juvenile but "I Need a Hot Girl" doesn't.

While one could argue the culling of songs for these releases is somewhat shady as a result, perhaps outright inconsistant, there's actually a VERY consistant theme to both albums - push Baby and Lil Wayne as the label's biggest star. There's little argument about Weezy's superstar status in 2008, but the degree to which he and Birdman dominate "Vol. 2" seems like a blatant attempt to rewrite history. 13 of 15 songs total feature one or both, while 9 out of 15 songs can be directly attributed to either of the two (Baby's total includes any performance as part of Big Tymers). If the songs that have nothing to do with either one seem laughable it's entirely by design. Nobody will be buying "10 Years of Bling Vol. 2" to get Teena Marie's "I'm Still in Love" or Currency's "Where Da Cash At."

You don't have to look hard to see the picture they're painting given the brush has such large strokes. Cash Money's view of themselves in 2008 is that Baby and his "adopted son" Wayne are solely responsible for their imprint's success while B.G., Juvenile and Turk are barely acknowledged as ever having existed at all. While B.G. at least got "Bling Bling" on the last edition he's not to be found anywhere here. What's really silly about this vendetta against his former artists is that Baby is only hurting himself since Wayne's fans won't need either of these comps - they'll already own most of his catalogue's hits and could easily purchase the few they don't a la carte. Given that Baby is at best a subpar rapper (a slightly charismatic delivery paired with mediocre rhymes) it's not good for him to hog so much of the spotlight here, especially given that as CEO he still gets paid even if he's NOT prominently featured on every song. There are some good songs on "Vol. 2" including "What Happened to That Boy" featuring Clipse, "Shooter" by Wayne and Robin Thicke and the delusionally nepotistic "Stuntin Like My Daddy" but there's still almost no reason to buy this CD. If either volume had truly shown what "10 Years of Bling" were about at Cash Money Records these would be great compilations, where in fact they are poor attempts to recycle a library of already released material for profit. There are no exclusives on "Vol. 2" and just as many duds as classics, and too much Birdman for any one man to listen to. Save your money and put three gallons of gas in the tank of your car.

Music Vibes: 5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 5 of 10

Originally posted: June 17, 2008