Birdman Talks Juvenile, Mannie Fresh and More (Drake?) at the ‘Birdman and Friends’ Essence Festival Performance

When Cash Money Records co-founder/co-CEO Bryan “Birdman” Williams hits the ESSENCE Festival stage with his “Birdman and Friends” performance on Friday (July 5), he’ll be joined by Juvenile and Mannie Fresh, among others.


Confirming those names without disclosing any more, Birdman tells Billboard via email that the performance will mark a “Cash Money Millionaires reunion.” Music fans will recall that the Cash Money Millionaires was a collective of rappers — including Birdman, Lil Wayne, Juvenile, B.G. and Fresh — who were signed to the label in the late ‘90s and early 2000s.

“It’s been 15-20 years since we’ve been onstage together,” adds Birdman. “We’ve got a great production and some special guests. It’s going to be amazing! We are working on a few things that we can’t talk about yet. But I can promise you that it’s going to be a night to remember. We’re excited to be a part of the Essence Festival … We’re going to bring the energy; we’re going to have a good time. And we’re going to make sure the crowd has a good time, too.”

In a July 4 report filed by People, Birdman did note that B.G. will also be among the friends who will be joining him and others onstage. He also told the publication that he’s hoping Drake — whose beef with Kendrick Lamar continues to make headlines — will appear as well. “It’s a possibility,” Birdman told People. “We made this a family thing but Drake, we’re close friends. He one of us.”

The Louisiana native did reveal that the “Birdman and Friends” segment will feature a special tribute to late Cash Money rapper Magnolia Shorty. “We lost a lot of great artists over the years, but Magnolia Shorty was one of the most special,” says Birdman. “We’re going to do a song for her and celebrate her life.” Magnolia Shorty was shot and killed in 2010 when she was just 28.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, the 2024 Essence Festival of Culture kicked off Thursday (July 4) in New Orleans and runs through July 7. Previously announced performers for this year’s lineup include Janet Jackson, Usher reprising his classic album Confessions, Mya, Charlie Wilson, Tank and the Bangas and a special tribute to Frankie Beverly & Maze.

Cash Money Records is also celebrating its 30th anniversary. Birdman and his brother/fellow Cash Money co-founder/co-CEO Ronald “Slim” Williams were recently feted by YouTube Music at the platform’s Leaders and Legends gala in Hollywood on June 27.

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