#TheBIG3 #YoungMoney ? ~ ?: @mackmaine4president

A photo posted by Nicki Minaj (@nickiminaj) on

Immediately upon seeing Nicki Minaj‘s recent Instagram post of a reunited Young Money, I felt like I was transported back to 2009.

This was the year both Minaj and Drake signed to Lil Wayne‘s Cash Money imprint. It was the year they started being known on a national register. It was the year Wayne was still considered at the top of his game, signing two young emcees who would go on to become superstars in their own right. It was the year he passed the torch.

Young Money

But then I blinked and it was gone. I noticed the reality of the picture. Drake and Nicki have grown so much in eight years. Wayne looks like a happy dad, showing off his prized possessions: the ones he helped raise. Nicki looks like the daughter, snapping some sarcastic comment at uncle Mack Maine, who took the picture. Drake’s trying his hardest to be as cool as dad, but he’s just not quite there. A smiling, happy family. Wayne isn’t thinkning about his lawsuits or album woes, he’s just joyful to be in the company of his family. Nicki and Drake (who reportedly haven’t spoken in three years) aren’t worried about drama, they’re here for dad. The tables may have turned, and the kids may now rule the roost, but he’s just happy he was able to lift them up, encourage them, push them to their limits. A family tied together by love, music, and a love for music.

With all three of them working on new projects, I’d be surprised and incredibly sad if they were to not release a collaboration. In eight years, each one has passed through so many artistic phases that they’re nearly unrecognizable from the photo above. But the link is still there, it just needs some rekindling. If they did record new music together, it would be for the fans, yes, but it would mostly be for themselves.