Last November, Cash Money Records co-founder Bryan "Birdman" Williams received an unexpected call. On the other end of the line was Fred Durst. The Limp Bizkit frontman, Williams learned, had called to inform him that his band was interested in inking a deal with Cash Money. "I was honored, really, that he would consider making that call," says Williams, whose label boasts industry bigwigs like Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj and Drake. "That's some shit I love to hear." Williams was quick to say "Let's do it!"
Durst, whose band had been waiting in limbo as they tried to get out of their longtime contract with Interscope Records, was thrilled with Williams' decision. Limp Bizkit, Durst says, had entertained other offers, but Cash Money was where the singer, 41, had always hoped they would land. "My goal was Cash Money," Durst says matter-of-factly. "These are good people. They're really smart and they're really loyal and they're married to the game, for real. I love it!"
On first glance, the marriage between Limp Bizkit – a band most famous for bringing the word "nookie" into the mainstream lexicon, and also, some would say, well past their prime – and Cash Money, one of hip-hop's premier labels, seems a bit odd. This fact is not lost on Durst. However the frontman, who says he's "always been a b-boy", feels this partnership can help take him and his band's music to new, wildly unexpected places. "We've always kind of had this urban element," Durst says, citing the band's 2000 hit "Rollin" as evidence. "But (Cash Money) have empowered me. They've given me the freedom to do what I do and want to do." Durst says, more than anything, he can now take his, and his band’s career, in any direction he sees fit. "(This signing) might bring out the heaviest Limp Bizkit stuff to date," Durst says, quick to add that he comparatively also might "finally be on some super sick hip-hop tracks and work with some great hip-hop producers and different artists."
Ever since Lil Wayne, who Durst instantly bonded with over their mutual love of skateboarding ("We first met right on the ramp and we had an amazing skate session, that was it," Durst says of his first encounter with the platinum rapper) first revealed Cash Money's signing of Limp Bizkit last month, the public’s reaction has ranged from confused to abhorred. But Williams is quick to downplay any regret whatsoever over the signing. "Everybody gonna have their opinion, but we don't' even listen to that," he says. "We been through this long enough not to pay attention to the negativity. We're just gonna let the music speak for itself." Durst concurs. "People don't understand when they hear it," he says. They think 'Oh, Limp Bizkit signed with Cash Money? They’re gonna go make some Birdman and Lil Wayne songs that sound like that?’" Rather, he says Limp Bizkit and Cash Money are going to feed off one another to make the best music possible. "They like what I do. I love what they do," Durst says. And if Limp Bizkit's first Cash Money offering, the Polow Da Don-produced collaboration with Lil Wayne "Ready To Go," that’s set to be released any day, is an indication of the direction they’re headed, Limp Bizkit may start yielding some bizarrely intriguing results.
Williams also sees Limp Bizkit as the first step in Cash Money's expansion into rock; while Lil Wayne swung and missed in his attempt at rock with 2010's perplexing Rebirth, Williams sees Durst as a key player in the label's foray into the genre." I want [Fred] to come in and be not just an artist, but a role player with everything that he brings to the table," Williams says, adding that he hopes the singer can take a leadership role, potentially even helping bring in some other rock talent to Cash Money. "I feel like that's a natural step for me," Durst says of taking on an A&R-style role with his new label. "I'm always looking for new talent."
Durst, who just returned from an Australian tour with Limp Bizkit, says the band plans to soon hole up in the studio and knock out the follow-up to last year's Gold Cobra with the sequel to 2005's The Unquestionable Truth (Part 1). They’ll also be working on crafting more singles in the vein of "Ready To Go." But whatever Durst chooses to do, he can be confident that Williams is going to lend him support. "We're gonna do everything in our power to make [Limp Bizkit] as big as possible," Williams says.