Reloaded and richer: the Cash Money Billionaires return with their first compilation album since 2009.
When Young Money released their We Are Young Money album four years ago, they were undeniably the hottest team in hip-hop. Lil Wayne's army was young and hungry, as artists like Tyga and Nicki Minaj had yet to develop into superstars. Veterans such as Mystikal and Busta Rhymes have since joined the Young Money militia, though have failed to make a lasting impact with the group. Fast forward to 2013, where super crews like G.O.O.D. Music, Top Dawg Entertainment, and Maybach Music Group are all gunning for the top. With these squads constantly trying to outdo each other, it seems there is more money, more problems for the Young Money Cash Money Billionaires. Fortunately for Birdman, Rich Gang is a team effort.
Backed by the lead single "Tapout", Rich Gang is a ten round beat down in which YMCMB members take swings at 808-infused beats. The result is a relatively solid album, where all the collaborations sound natural, with the exception of "Sunshine" featuring Limp Bizkit and Flo Rida. The biggest surprise isn't who's on the album, but rather who isn't on the album. Oddly enough, YMCMB superstar Drake is left off the project. While Drake's presence is missed, proven talents such as Future, R. Kelly, and Chris Brown keep the album sounding clean.
After Mystikal's energetic intro "R.G.", Detail and Future sing over a beautifully crafted piano track for "Million Dollar", which serves as a prologue to "Tapout". Detail, an unfamiliar name to many, plays a major role on Rich Gang. The "No Worries" producer made several beats on the album, including his own solo track "Burn The House".
"We Been On" is an outstanding track on the project, where R&B legend R. Kelly shines above all. "Got too many foreigns you need a passport to walk in my garage" sings the ageless wonder, who provides both an excellent verse and chorus. Lil Wayne completes the track with his verse, claiming he won't turn down for nothing.
"Panties To The Side" has the recipe to become an instant club banger, though it lacks originality. The song features Tyga, whose verse sounds almost identical to his "Molly" verse, and Gudda Gudda, whose first few bars seem as if they were adopted straight from Future's smash hit, "Karate Chop". If it wasn't for Bow Wow's sharp verse and French Montana's catchy hook, the song would have been a disappointment.
Although the Young Money squad did their best to accommodate for Drake's absence from the album, some of those cavities could not be filled. Drizzy is especially missed on songs like "We Been On" and the laid-back "Dreams Come True", where his started from the bottom demeanor would have fit in just fine. As for Detail, his contributions to the album are sure to open up many eyes and ears wondering what's next for the breakthrough artist. With Rich Gang, Birdman proves his YMCMB arsenal remains a force to be reckoned with.