Interview: Ronald “Slim” Williams and Mack Maine Talk Cash Money Records Turkey Drive
Thu, 28 Nov 2013 18:53:07
“All of us work hard all year-round,” smiles Cash Money Records Co-Founder and C.E.O. Ronald "Slim" Williams. “We do good deeds together. It isn’t just me, “Baby”, Lil Wayne, or Mack Maine. It’s everybody who’s a part of the team. We’re in this together.”
That teamwork has yielded one of the most wonderful events that the music industry has ever seen with the Cash Money Records Annual Turkey Drive. Going 17 years strong, the event takes over a New Orleans neighborhood and gives out over 3,000 turkeys to those in need as well as offering medical and health screenings and providing activities for kids. “Slim” and his brother Bryan "Baby" Williams aka Birdman never forget where they came from, and what they give is utterly inspiring.
This year proved to be the biggest yet for the Cash Money Records team.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, “Slim” and Young Money president Mack Maine talk about the Turkey Drive, what’s next for the label, and so much more.
How do you build the Turkey Giveaway every year? What separates each one?
We just try to see how we can help. We just do our part. Everybody works hard all year-round. We all do different things. It’s not just one or two people. Everybody’s part of the company. It’s team work. We all look forward to it for the whole year. To come back home, for myself, “Baby”, Lil Wayne, and Mack Maine, is so great. All of us from New Orleans get this opportunity.
When you first started the label, was this something you always knew you’d eventually want to do?
We used to watch New Jack City, and we were like, “You know man, we want to do something”. That was the one thing we wanted to do. The first time I saw it was on New Jack City. We made it better by adding in the medical fair. We saved a few people today, man. Two people had blood pressure so high that we rushed them to the hospital. We helped them out.
We’ve got heart, dental, blood pressure, and diabetes screenings and a lot of other things. It turned out great because we were able to save some lives.
What’s the significance of this park for you?
We’re all from uptown, and uptown goes a long ways. It’s a great thing. We know a lot of people from around this area.
When do you start planning?
Next week [Laughs]. We really do because we try to see how we can make it better each year. This turned out to be great. It turned out way better than I expected it to. When we first started, I wondered, “How many people are going to come to the medical section? We know they’re going to come get the turkeys”. The medical fair is getting to be as big as the turkey giveaway. That’s a great thing for me. We’re able to save some lives.
You continue to give even more.
We try to do things people don’t typically see. We tell the kids you’ve got to stay in school. I’m so proud of everybody who works on this because we all do our part. That makes us who we are.
What’s been your best memory of the Turkey Giveaway?
It’s everything. The way people respond, they say, “Thank you”, “God bless you”, or “No one has ever done anything for us so we appreciate what y’all are doing”. Today, we were able to save two people. They could’ve caught a stroke or whatever. The medical screenings prevented that and could’ve saved their lives.
What are you looking forward to next with the label?
We put our hard work in. We hold our hands in God’s hands, and we go. We walk with God. We just look forward, and we go. We’re going to rock ‘em next year [Laughs]. We’re going to shake ‘em up. We’ve got some things in store for them.
What’s been your best memory of the Turkey Giveaway?
There have been a lot of great memories. Honestly, one of the best moments to me is watching Reginae Carter and Bria Williams give back to the kids and seeing how they’ve grown into being stars in their own right and how the other kids look up to them. That’s one of my best moments right there. Also, I always have great moments when older people show they’re appreciation. When elderly people come through, they really appreciate it. I see their smiles and the genuine appreciation written across their faces. I’m all about kids and older folks. The in-between ages are cool, but kids appreciate you genuinely. They don’t judge you. The older folks appreciate you too. It’s cool when people appreciate you for who you are, but it’s better when they appreciate you for what you do. For that day, we like to lose the stardom feel of it. I like to feel like a citizen, who’s just giving back. I made it, they helped me make it, and now I’m giving back thanks. I like that part of it.
How do you see the event expanding?
I think it’s going to expand even more. We might need more than one day eventually, and then it could be in different locations. We might need leave here and go to another spot. People come from all around the city here. We chose this spot because a lot of our people are around here. When we’re able to go out to the east or the west, it would be cool too. It might be in more cities eventually. We might have to franchise it and have some people out there do theirs. They keep the industry where they’re from. I see it growing bigger and bigger. We’re seventeen years strong here.
This is all about giving back. You guys do it for the right reasons.
We definitely do it for the right reasons. If you can’t help people every day of the year of course, at least make sure this special holiday, everyday doesn’t have concerns on how they’re going to feed the family. They come and get the turkeys and everything. You might have ten people in one house. Everybody’s going to be happy that day. There’s no scrapping or, “Hey, we don’t have enough”. Hopefully, we’re able to make sure that everybody at least had enough that day. “Baby” is still out there! That’s so genuine. I think every hand twice [Laughs]. That’s a lot of people.
As far as Young Money Entertainment goes, what’s on the horizon for you?
I’m always excited about trying to break new acts. That’s like my niche. I take pride in breaking new acts and making new stars. Of course, we’ve got the heavy-hitters coming. Nicki Minaj is working on her album. Lil Wayne’s working on his album. I’m excited about that, but I’m always more excited about trying to break the new acts.
You dropping anything new yourself?
Of course! I’ve got to stay in the mix and stay relevant. That’s my hobby. It’s not my day job. It’s not my focus.
You’re great at it…
I love it [Laughs]. I’ll always do it.
How amazing is the Turkey Drive?
Also, read about Rick's visit to the Turkey Drive.