In the fall of 2011, legendary producer Mannie Fresh shocked and saddened supporters of Southern Hip Hop when he revealed to HipHopDX.com that his work with fellow New Orleans great Mystikal for the lively lyricist’s comeback project had stalled, due in large part to the incessant touring schedule being kept by “The Tarantula” following his release from prison after serving six years for sexual battery.
On the heels of Mystikal’s surprise announcement that he had signed to Fresh’s former homebase Cash Money Records, Mannie revealed in a subsequent interview that he and Mystikal had not spoken since the ex-No Limit soldier inked with his onetime cross-town rival. An apparent rift having developed between the two over Mystikal’s decision to go into business with the label headed by Bryan “Baby” Williams, who Mannie has long accused of cheating him out of millions of dollars in royalties during his time as Cash Money’s chief sonic architect.
A year removed from that second discussion with DX, it appears that Mannie and Mystikal have managed to re-estalish their friendship amidst their obvious conflicts of interest. Followers of @MannieFresh have recently been treated to Instagram images of Mannie and Mystikal sitting down together for an interview with Sway Calloway, and appearing alongside one another in the latest video for fellow Cash Money alum TQ’s funky, Fresh-produced “Bad Man.” Unfortunately, however, for fans of the two Southside legends, their personal reunion is not going to lead to a professional one.
“Nah,” replied Mannie disappointedly when asked by HipHopDX on Thursday (February 28th) if the two will be resuming their working relationship. “I mean, you know, because of his situation with his present label. But we still good.”
As for the songs Mannie and Mystikal recorded together before the latter signed to the former’s now adversary: “They gonna mysteriously come out,” Fresh replied determinedly when asked. “That’s what’s gonna happen. I’m not gonna waste my time, so I’m telling you, they gonna mysteriously come out.”
While Mannie’s suggestive plan to leak the music he created with Mystikal may seem like a strike on not only Cash Money Records but Mystikal himself, Fresh reassures that his friendship with the fiery spitter is fine.
“Me and dude, we’re one hundred,” he reiterated. “And, for whatever reasons he took the deal – he’s a grown man, he can do whatever he wants. But, I’m not gonna waste those songs.”
Mannie Fresh Signs Single Deal With Kanye West
As the in-demand deejay made his way through bustling New York City traffic to get to his gig at Santos on Thursday, he continued his conversation with HipHopDX by providing an update on another of his recent musical partnerships, this one with Kanye West.
When Mannie last spoke with HipHopDX in early 2012, it seemed all but certain that Fresh would be signing on the dotted line to become an in-house producer at G.O.O.D. Music. But given Mannie’s well-documented business strife with Cash Money, he bypassed an opportunity to be more exclusive to the house that Yeezy built.
“I chose not to really do that, to a certain degree, because I don’t wanna be signed to nobody,” explained Mannie of his reasoning for not inking with G.O.O.D. “I think Kanye’s a genius. But Kanye got his own space. It’s time for Mannie Fresh to get his own space as well.”
While Mannie continues to work within his own space, he will collaborate with Kanye in a freelance role.
“I got a good song deal with G.O.O.D. Music,” he noted. “A perfect song deal, that pays a lot. But, I just chose not to be signed because that don’t work for me.”
Unfortunately, for those excited at the prospect of hearing the G.O.O.D. family over more creations from the mind of Mannie Fresh, his sole co-credit on the Cruel Summer compilation, “The One,” will have to stand alone for now as the best representation of what a Fresh-crafted G.O.O.D. track sounds like.
“We did a lot of songs, but ultimately it’s on Kanye, what he picks,” explained Mannie of why the roughly half-dozen other songs he was involved in creating with Kanye’s crew have yet to see the light of day. “I’m not the boss at G.O.O.D. Music, but I can say I got paid well. I would have loved for some of the other songs to make it, but ultimately it’s Kanye’s choice.”
When asked about his potential placement on the forthcoming solo releases from G.O.O.D. artists, Fresh replied, “Me and Pusha [T], [Big] Sean, all of us did songs exclusively. It wasn’t just me; it was a couple of producers. But, like I said, ultimately it boils down to what Mr. West wants.”
Mannie Fresh Confirms Completion "OMFGOD" LP With Yasiin Bey (Mos Def)
What all Mannie Fresh fans have wanted since last summer is Mannie’s much-anticipated collaborative project with Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) titled OMFGOD.
“We actually mixing it right now,” said Fresh.
Mannie and Mos “decided to keep it simple” and therefore a feature-less 10-track release will soon be making its way to the public.
“We recorded way more than that,” clarified Mannie. “But rather than to [just] have somebody say like, ‘Oh, wow’ – I think a lot of times when you do that you throw away music. So, I just wanna give people like ten bangers and let’s be out.”
One of those bangers might be the head-nodding track heard, beginning at the 2:06 mark, in the “Act 3” promo video for OMFGOD sporting a sly sample of The Outfield’s classic 1986 Pop Rock ditty “(I Don’t Wanna Lose) Your Love.”
“Yes, he did record to it,” replied Fresh when asked if Yasiin tracked vocals for the irresistible instrumental. “Now if it’s gon’ make it, [I don’t know].
“Some of those songs, I feel like we should just throw [them] out there,” he continued. “I’m that dude that think of songs to sample that no cats would ever think of. That’s one of ‘em. And, given the response … I always read from bloggers what they checkin’ out, and people are like, ‘Dude, that song right there [is the one].’ But if it don’t [make the album], believe me, we gonna put it out. ‘Cause I mean, it would be a waste [if we didn’t].”
The rare ego-free producer, Mannie is a consummate collaborator (having worked with Bun B on his next solo project, and recently hit the lab with 2 Chainz, Ludacris and T.I.) who no one should be surprised by his blurring of regional lines to create the music he loves.
“Mos is a Hip Hop head, so it kinda came easy,” he explained of his experience working with the Brooklyn born emcee who recently relocated to the Big Easy. “And, by him being a Mannie Fresh fan, and me being his fan, it came real easy.
“And I think that’s the way the process should be,” he continued. “We should have fun. It was no stress; we didn’t have no budgets from nobody, we didn’t have nobody hanging over us, no A&Rs. It was just something that we decided to do.”
The two music business veterans have decided to take that carefree energy and flip the bird to the traditional release system by unleashing OMFGOD digitally on their own.
“We had a couple of offers,” Mannie noted of the label interest in the audacious album due to drop as soon as Yasiin’s film schedule frees up to promote the project. “But, [taking an offer], that just seemed like it would be defeating what we trying to I guess prove. And basically what we doing is saying we really don’t need the big machine.”