Words by Beez, Illustration by Jeremy Nguyen
High above Manhattan in the law offices of Cohen, Silverstein & Shmeckel, Bryan “Birdman” Williams, better known as Baby, squirts a little Dove moisturizer into his left palm. As his lawyer Joel Silverstein stares at Baby sternly, the Cash Money CEO slowly rubs his hands together, trying to hide the grin the friction causes.
“You can’t just not pay people,” Mr. Silverstein barked at Birdman seated across from his desk.
“What da fuck is you talkin’ bout?” Birdman chirped back.
“We’ve been through this a million times! You can’t agree to things, sign contracts, and then not honor them.”
“I’m a man uh ma word, baby. I say I’ma do it, then I’ma do it.”
“But you do not, Mr. Birdman. Time and time again, you do not.”
“What da fuck is you referring to?”
His attorney sighed. “Lil Wayne, Drake, Tyga, Turk, Mannie Fresh, B.G., Juvenile, W3, EMI, and a whole bunch of other people I can’t even remember. Any of those guys ring a bell? You promised them money, but then you didn’t actually pay them. As your attorney, I need you to disclose to me, in complete confidence, whether this was intentional or merely … many, many … recurring … negligent oversights”.
“Psst. Man, I paid all them motherfuckers.”
“You did not. The evidence is quite clear that you did not. So what I’m trying to figure out, Mr. Birdman, is why not. You can afford it. Look how much money you’ve made! Look at your homes! Why not pay these people the first time, so you don’t have to keep paying me to save your ass?”
“I got da best lawya in the fuckin’ game, baby, dat’s why I pay you!” Birdman goes for the dap, and Mr. Silverstein accepts it.
“Yes, yes. Okay. Perhaps I should speak to Cash Money’s accountant. What’s the name?”
Mr. Silverstein sighed. “No, I know your name.” He then chuckled to himself: “Also, quite a few similarities between you and the other Brian Williams. Forgetfulness…”
“No otha Bryan Williams but me, Birdman.”
Mr. Silverstein stopped chuckling and deadpanned: “Right. So I assume congratulations are in order for your Best Picture Oscar then?”
“Yep, won me an Oscar and erthang. God shine on me again and again, whoadie. Thank you God!”
Mr. Silverstein shuddered in disbelief. “Alrighty. Well, I was asking for the accountant’s name…”
“Nigga, I’m the accountant. Count money all day, nigga. Just this mawnin I opened the account, took the money out and counted it. It was not a difficult procedure. Muthafuckas be goin to school for shit we learned on the streets!”
“Oh my word,” said Joel. He eyed the menorah on his desk and almost felt the rush to rub it for good luck. “Call me an old fuddy-duddy, but I still respect the institution of education. Does Cash Money have an accountant, besides you? Preferably one with a CPA license? Or even a bachelor’s degree? In fact, I’d be happy with a trade school grad at this point.”
“Think we got a Jewish intern. Prolly y’all should talk to him.”
“Joshua, yes I know, he’s my nephew. Thank you again for that. I don’t think he’s qualified to assess the finances of a $51 million lawsuit yet, though.”
Mr. Silverstein paused, stunned. “The Lil Wayne lawsuit. The reason we’re talking!”
“Oh yeah, yeah I know. Na, Wayne is good. He with me.”
“He with you? No, he’s suing you for a lot of money! You promised him $8 million when he finished recording Carter V, remember? We had a long discussion about it before you signed the deal. I said to you, ‘Mr. Birdman, I know you love Wayne, but that’s a lot of money. In this current media climate, it’s going to be very difficult to make back that investment.’ Remember?”
“Oh, we gon’ make $80 million dollars, sho’ thang,” said Baby, and as he assured his lawyer of the impending fortune, he bent down to finger his new Lugz, made of the finest imported leather from discarded Toyota car seats.
“Okay, well I don’t know about that. But even still, that’s not the issue. The issue is you’ve got to pay him for the recordings now! You must honor the deal, or we’ll be headed to court!”
Birdman sat in silence. He reclined in his chair and rubbed his palms together once more. He looked around the room, reached into his pocket and put on his reading glasses. He stared into the distance and mumbled, “Think I love Young Thug.”
Silverstein put his face into his palms. “Okay, I think we’re going to go for a plea deal by reason of mental defect. You know, you may be the first multi-millionaire CEO not fit to stand trial?”
Birdman looked at Silverstein and winked.