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Baby and Slim are no dummies! When your biggest artist has been involved in a revolving cycle of legal issues, it makes perfect sense to invest in something less troublesome. Like say — LITERACY!

Ronald and Bryan Williams, two entrepreneurial brothers from New Orleans who run the successful music company Cash Money Records Inc., are turning their attention to the book business.

“We think we can do more, market books in a new way,” said Bryan “Birdman” Williams, the younger of the brothers, who is also a rap artist on their independent music label. “We want to put out five or six books a year.”

Cash Money Content has an agreement with the Atria Books imprint of CBS Corp.’s Simon & Schuster to market and distribute the books. The Williams brothers, whose music label is distributed by Vivendi SA’s Universal Music Group, will own the books.

“Cash Money has a particular expertise in the audience they appeal to, and they feel it’s important for their audience to read books,” said Judith Curr, Atria’s publisher.

The new imprint’s list of titles doesn’t initially include any music-related books. Rather, it will debut in February with “Raw Law: An Urban Guide to Criminal Justice,” written by Muhammad Ibn Bashir, a lawyer. In March, it will publish Wahida Clark’s “Justify My Thug,” a paperback original novel. Cash Money also was able to secure the rights to the memoir “Pimp” by the late Iceberg Slim. All three titles are listed in Atria’s spring 2011 catalog.

LOL @ they feel it’s important for their audience to read books… Books about Criminal Justice, Thug Life and Pimpin’!

We can’t lie though. “Pimp” by Iceberg Slim is an excellent selection.

“We intend to publish all kinds of authors,” said Vernon Brown, the brothers’ attorney and business manager. “Our ultimate goal is a good catalog of authors and books in all topics, including education, politics, food, and lifestyle, and to touch all demographics.”

This isn’t the first time Baby have stepped outside the music business (remember that oil rig?). Cash Money also had Cash Money Pictures at one point, but ended up not making any films.

“We set out to look at material, but didn’t find any that the guys felt was worth producing,” said Mr. Brown.

For the book effort, Mr. Brown said cross-promotion with the music label will include inviting authors out on stage during concerts, and having the label’s performers attend events for new titles.

“You’re going to see TV commercials, billboards, and plenty of YouTube videos featuring artists and writers talking about books,” said Mr. Brown. “Our books will also be sold at our concerts. When you’re out in front of 18,000 people, some will buy books, some not. But right now many of those fans aren’t being told what books are great. We’ll do that.”

Mr. Brown said editing and business affairs for the book venture will be handled in New York, with acquisitions made from Miami, where Cash Money Records is based. Cash Money Content will pay advances and hire its own editors.

We don’t know about this one. Inviting authors on stage at concerts?

And SMH at Cash Money Content paying advances and hiring its own editors. Isn’t this the same company involved in multiple lawsuits for not paying producers???

Just sayin’!

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