His relationship with SOTG collaborator Lil Wayne, for instance, goes back a ways. Back in August 1999, before Weezy was known to guest on many tracks outside his Cash Money camp, Noreaga invited Wayne to appear on a song that appeared on N.O.R.E's sophomore LP. Melvin Flynt--Da Hustler. Originally, N.O.R.E. was looking to only work with former Cash Money star Juvenile, who at the time was riding high off of his breakout single "Ha," but Birdman suggested something different.
"When he flew into New York, he was like, 'Say, playboy ... you want the whole crew?' " N.O.R.E. recalled to MTV News using his best Birdman impersonation. "Nobody knew who Lil Wayne was, and not only that I put him first," N.O.R.E. continued, pointing out that Weezy's verse opens "Play That Sh--." "He just took that as respect."
According to Noreaga, Birdman decided not to charge the C-N-N rapper for the 1999 feature. He also curiously remembers the crew's eating habits. "They were rich back then, too, and they also ordered the most pork on pizza I've ever seen in my life," he said, laughing. "These guys ordered ham, bacon, meatballs. They ordered sh-- I didn't even know you could put on pizza."
N.O.R.E., who is using the alias P.A.P.I. on Student of the Game, has maintained a tight relationship with the Cash ...