Like Dr. Dre and The Hit Squad before him, Mannie Fresh was the architect that helped shape the sound that would forever be stamped in Hip Hop history. While No Limit beatsmiths, Beats By The Pound established New Orleans as a commercial force in Hip Hop, Mannie solidified the spot and slingshotted Cash Money Records onto the Billboard Charts with both his tracks and his A&R moves.
After financial issues between him and his Big Tymerz cohort Birdman, Mannie left the label that he helped build. Then the DJ/producer went through a personal tragedy with the death of his sister and almost quit making music for good. But like many greats before him, he couldn’t leave rap alone, the game needed him! In 2017 Mannie and Baby reconciled and he’s even working with Lil Wayne and trying to be the glue that brings the original Cash Money all-star team back together again.
In part one of HipHopDX’s two-part exclusive interview with Mannie Fresh the legendary hit maker opens up about reconciling with Birdman, patching things up between the Cash Money CEO and Lil Wayne and bringing back the Ruff Ryders/Cash Money Tour twenty years after it swept the nation.
On why he shied away from the limelight.
“It was just a couple of events that happened in my life, cause when I left them the first thing I had was the Jeezy record. That jumped off then I had a lotta success with T.I. That jumped off. Then I had some things happen in my life that was kinda just life changing. You know, me losing my sister or whatever. I just kinda felt like I didn’t wanna do music,” Mannie said. He continued, “DJing made me connect with people and what was going on in the world and vice versa….And that’s what brung me back to what I’m doing. I never meant to drop out of it I just had real life moments.”
“I talk to his mom and I talk to his auntie but I haven’t talked to him in a while, but you know, I always post things to his page because you know that’s part of Mannie Fresh DNA. That’s what I do,” said Mannie, who also said he plans to hop in the studio with his former comrade the second he’s free. “There’s no thinking about it,” he exclaimed. “That’s understood. I mean if dude get out tomorrow we will be in the studio tomorrow.”
On his new tracks with Lil Wayne
“I got a couple of EDM songs with Wayne,” noted Mannie. He continued. “I say EDM it’s not fist-pump EDM, it’s more of what I did you know what I’m saying I kinda think even EDM trap in an extension of what Mannie Fresh did. My EDM is more of, like Future trap,] but it’s different from just how a Hip Hop song would sound.”
On assembling the Cash Money/Ruff Ryders Reunion Tour
“The invitation has been reached out to Wayne. I’m not gonna say that he’s gonna do it but it has been there because everybody know like, him and Baby got legal battles or whatever but I’m truly hoping that we can just leave that part of it out of it and just give the people that grew up on us something legendary,” Mannie revealed. In addition to the original CMB roster, the super producer also said he wants to bring back the Ruff Ryders roster for a full scale mega tour. “The epic thing about it is the Cash Money/Ruff Ryders Tour was the one that kinda put this thing in perspective so I was like “We gotta get DMX, you know what I’m saying, we gotta call Swizz, we gotta get people like that…. It’s one of them things that we gotta get the people who grew up in that era on this tour.”
On being in the middle of Wayne and Baby
“I’m kinda thinking, real talk I could be the medium. I get that Wayne gotta get his money, but I’m hoping that I could be the middle person that resolve it. I’m hoping that I could be the person to say ‘How can we fix this? How can we all like sit at one table, break bread and do something epic again?’” Mannie said. “I think that it could happen because I talk to both of them.”
On the reconciliation conversation with Baby
“This is [what’s] weird about New Orleans. I gotta tell you this. We might not get along and agree on things like when it comes to issues or whatever and all of that but when something jump off that’s real personal to us we always come together,” said Mannie. “I saw his son in the mall in Houston and they was doing a show or whatever. And I don’t even know if he knows this, and his son was like “Oh I remember you dude. You and my dad was good friends,” so we got to talkin’ and whatever. and I kinda figured like, I would not want your son to grow up in a world, like to just inherit something that’s so stupid as ‘I hate you because my dad hates you’ or vice versa or whatever, so I was like ‘You know, I can forgive whatever happened. Let’s move on. Let’s just make the world in what we do a better place,’ and that’s how it actually got started.”
Peep the full interview below and stay tuned for part two where Mannie speaks on his fateful meeting with Dr. Dre, the perceived rivalry with No Limit back in the day, his deal that never came to fruition with Jay Z and much more.
Peep the full interview above. Follow him on Twitter @manniefresh.