Mannie Fresh, the legendary producer and pioneering member of Cash Money Records, has been conspicuously absent from hip hop in recent years, remaining dormant as the company he helped launch has morphed into a new behemoth known as the Young Money Cash Money Billionaires. In an interview with HipHopDx, Fresh, who says he's been "waiting for hip hop to come back," sheds some light on the state of his relationship with Lil Wayne and butting heads with Young Jeezy.
"I still talk to [Lil] Wayne. I talked to dude like three days ago," Mannie said. "I called him because he made a step that was so important to hip hop – I don’t know if you seen his latest YouTube video, where he’s telling the kids don’t do what he do, and the reason why he drunk syrup was because he thought [that since] we all grew up like that, we all grew up on UGK, and he thought it was the cool thing to do, so that’s why he did it. And he understands now that there’s a lot of people that’s following dude and doing what he does. And he was being sincere."
"So I called him myself and was like, 'Hey dude, I’m proud of you. I’m super-proud of you for what you said and what you did,' he continued. "'Because, you know, if I said that during our little reign when we was there it was taken as like, 'Dude, you soft. You being soft right now.' And I’m like, 'Dude, this sh** is real right now. It’s kids that do everything that we do.'”
Aside from his work with Lil Wayne and Cash Money, Fresh had a major hand in the early success of Young Jeezy. Fresh produced Jizzle's breakthrough hit "And Then What" off the rapper’s 2005 debut Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101. The beatmaker said he'd like to work with Jeezy again, but the two of them haven't been able to see eye to eye.
“I think he’s a good artist, but it’s time for Jeezy to show growth. So, that’s kinda like where me and Jeezy bump heads at," he said. "And it’s supposed to be that, he’s supposed to have his opinion and I’m supposed to have my opinion, and we still can be friends and we still can hang out. But, basically what I see is – It’s like, if I present some songs to Jeezy, it’s not the songs that he’s looking for. He like, 'Dude, I want that sh** that’s like right now.' And I’m like, 'Dude, but if you hired me to do something,' and I’m telling you, I’m like, 'Hey bruh, I wanna give you what it sound like right now but it’s time for you to get on another train. You gotta show some growth.'"
Fresh said that despite the success of their original collaboration, there were people around Jeezy who were trying to prevent the two of them from working together.
"In all honesty, let me just tell you the situation," he said. "When 'And Then What' was made Jeezy already had a street appeal, but 'And Then What' put him on the national appeal. But then it was guys in the room going like, 'Some of that sh** that Mannie do is kinda corny, bruh. You a gangsta.' So when you hear that this is my six friends telling me, 'You don’t need to do another one with him, because that ain’t really what you represent.' And I’m like, 'Dude, that’s the song that everybody know. How you let somebody talk you out of [doing something else with me]?'”
Read more with Mannie, including a status report on his comeback album with Mystikal, over at HipHopDX.
(Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty Images)