The Breakdown: “I Made It (Cash Money Heroes),” Kevin Rudolf, Jay Sean, Birdman, and Lil Wayne

12 May

I haven’t done this in a while. I wonder if I’m picking the right target.

(Birdman)
Yeah
Cash Money Heroes

Couldn’t have picked a better one.

Look, I don’t know what the meaning of heroes Mr. Birdman is going for in this song is, but mine isn’t a foursome consisting of one of the least talented guitarists/singers ever, a guy whose own ghostwriters have given up on giving him anything halfway decent, Jay Sean, and Lil Wayne. So.

Private jets
Polish, fly

Think, if you will, of polishing a jet. There, now you’re as dumb as Birdman.

(Kevin Rudolf)
I look up to the sky
And now the world is mine

If it were that easy, dude, the world would be mine, too.

I’ve known it all my life
I made it, I made it!

You knew you made it? All your life? You sound like you may have benefited from some nepotism at some point.

(Jay Sean)
I used to dream about
The life I’m living now
I know that there’s no doubt
I made it, I made it!

Um, that’s the proper hook. And it’s winningly sung. Granted, a cat vomiting might have sounded better than Rudolf’s “I’m trying to pass a kidney stone but I’M WORKING SO HARD MAN” hook, but that’s not Jay Sean’s fault.

(Rudolf)
Known from the city where no one believed in me

This is the exact type of fame you want, right?

But I never give up the fight-ight

I wish you’d at least give up the fight with your bowels. They’re winning.

Yeah, but now I’m on top
I told you to let it rock (Rock)
The money’s fallin from the sky-y-y-y-y
I made it

Wait, that was an entire verse? That was like six bars, and you just ended it with the end of the hook. There was no particularly interesting guitar, your obligatory reference to your only other hit was clunky, you extended a few syllables to excruciating lengths, and now you’re done?

Wow. Thanks, I didn’t think you’d have the decency to keep it that short.

I look up to the sky
And now the world is mine
I’ve known it all my life
I made it, I made it!
I used to dream about
The life I’m living now
I know that there’s no doubt
I made it, I made it!

Okay, which do you prefer?

(Birdman)
Yeah
YMCMB baby
Birdman
Swagged out
100

These are Birdman’s ad-libs. They could not be more generic.

Rooftop, hella choppa, burning smoke
Louie bag, stay strapped with a priceless glow
High life, flippin’ and get some more
Paradise, the luxury marble floor

There are no metaphors, no similes, and no creativity in those four lines. A Louie bag is a token of luxury? You stay strapped? Something has a priceless glow? (If it were the strap, uh, why’d you buy a priceless gun?) You smoke on the roof? You flip to get more?

Also note that the end rhymes are single syllables; Birdman is uncannily good at avoiding rapping that would require him to do anything more than the bare minimum.

When I hit, hit me full of that cash

“Hit me full of that cash!”

“What?”

“I SAID HIT ME FULL OF THAT CASH!”

(swings bag full of rubber-banded Hamiltons)

(Birdman crumples to floor)

More money than I seen in a garbage can

Chances are, if you’re seeing money in garbage cans, it’s not actually all that much money.

Stunna Island, money and the power

What do you think a vacation on Stunna Island is like? Does it come with complimentary head tattoos?

That’s how we do it, make it rain, make it shower

Whoa, we’re dangerously close to a metaphor here. Good thing it’s one of the more played tropes rap has ever seen.

Top floor, Big Tymer doing big things
Over city views bought shawty new Range
Flip another 100, poppin’ throwing hundreds
In a new Bentley, uptown Stunna

Ronald “Birdman” Williams Rap-By-Numbers Checklist

1. Mention the top floor of something.
2. Mention the group I was in, as obviously as possibly.
3. Mention two or more luxury car brands.
4. Say shawty.
5. Make pun (?) on hundred.
6. Unintentionally say that I am throwing hundreds in a car.
7. Say the word uptown.

I look up to the sky (To the sky)
And now the world is mine (The world is mine)
Ive known it all my life (All my life)
I made it, I made it!
I used to dream about
The life I’m living now
I know that there’s no doubt
I made it!

The echoes make it.

(Jay Sean)
Oooh, I made it
I made it…
I made it…
I made it…
Yo, ay, ay, listen

I will take this over Birdman, yes.

See I don’t live for glamour
And I don’t care for fame
I’m in this for the love of the game

It kinda shows, what with the sharply written verse and well-sung portion of the hook.

Funny how things can change
They didn’t believe in me
Then they calling my name

This is so much better—more descriptive, more developed, and better balanced between have-not and have-it-all—than the Rudolf “no one knew me” line that I wonder why Rudolf’s even signed to Cash Money.

Now look who cashed in
They didn’t wanna know me back then
But ever since I done gone platinum

1. That’s a clever Cash Money reference.
B. “Cashed in” and “back then” and “platinum” shouldn’t rhyme. But they do.
III. “Done gone,” in Jay Sean’s British accent, sounds a lot better than it looks written out.

Everything turned around
And now the sky is falling down

Consider that this is a reference to former Breakdown victim “Down” and the sky mention in the hook. That’s good, clever writing, right? Okay, now the song’s going to subject you to Rudolf again.

I’m just skipping to Weezy’s verse.

(Lil Wayne)
Came from the gutter, lookin like my motha

I should hope so.

Made it to the goal line, straight out the huddle

That’s probably cheating.

Cash Money gold mine, Weezy stay loyal
Boy, we getting money like we just found oil

Percentage of listeners who get that reference? Can’t be many.

Uh, and that’s word to my red flag
I live first and leave the bullshit dead last
I lay it down so hard I got a bed rash
And I just tell ’em to loaf it when the bread pass

Weezy’s been doing this multisyllabic, reference-light thing much longer than Drake has, and, go figure, he’s a lot better at it. This is nothing special. But it sounds good.

Staring at you from the top of the game, man
I might drop the world if I change hands

Weezy can reference things, too.

Uh, it feel good to be here
Weezy in the building got this bitch rebuilt
Young Money

Again: Solid. Wayne’s voice and presence are enough to make things sell nowadays, and, usually, if he’s the first or last verse on the song, I’m sticking around to hear him.

But the song in general? The first two minutes are a Kevin Rudolf song featuring Birdman. That’s a crap sandwich served on moldy bread. Why is Rudolf a major label artist? Why is Birdman still trying? Why haven’t Jay Sean and Lil Wayne been on more than two songs together?

These, and more answers, never. Hope you enjoyed The Breakdown; leave your critiques in the comments.

6 Responses to “The Breakdown: “I Made It (Cash Money Heroes),” Kevin Rudolf, Jay Sean, Birdman, and Lil Wayne”

  1. freshlikeuhhn May 13, 2010 at 8:23 AM #

    hit it on the head with the birdman rap-by-numbers.. he is garbage

    • JT May 13, 2010 at 9:16 AM #

      KEVIN RUDOLF IS THE BEST !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. AR May 21, 2010 at 9:47 AM #

    Damn, love these breakdowns. Keep up the good work, man!

  3. gus June 24, 2010 at 6:11 PM #

    this is way too biased towards jay sean and he is a fag

  4. ray August 9, 2011 at 10:47 AM #

    jay sean’s voice is awesome . Agreed , most off the times his lyrics are dumb .

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