“I got that many big records?” questioned Mannie Fresh, as XXL was gearing to conduct this feature piece on his biggest hits. “Sometime I’m in the club, DJ will play some songs, and somebody will come up and say, ‘Dude, he’s been playing your songs for an hour.’ And I’m like, ‘I don’t realize that.’” The producer extraordinaire who was the go-to mastermind credited for the early success of Cash Money Millionaire’s biggest hits (“Back That Azz Up,” by Juvenile; “Bling Bling,” by B.G.) hasn’t been producing much lately. As the soundscape of modern hip-hop entrenches itself with 808 drums—a style pioneered by Fresh from the late ‘90s—the architect that elevated Cash Money’s success (which largely expanded Baby and Slim’s pockets) has lately been DJing more than producing.
From a bitter breakup with the coveted label he once considered home, to the tragic incident that occurred to his kin, Mannie Fresh (largely recognized by the masses as one half of the Big Tymers, and occasional featured performer on Cash Money’s hits) has gone through years of trials and tribulations. Now, in a better state of mind than ever before, he has decided to slowly—yet steadily—emerge himself back in the scene. DJing, has been a way for the legendary producer to get back to his roots, to understand the sound, and hopefully to track back to what he knows best: Making thumping hit records.