Back when Lil Wayne was a baby-faced teen, it was producer Mannie Fresh who was the driving force behind Cash Money's sound. It may be hard to imagine these days, but Fresh's booming 808s and bouncy bass lines laid the foundation for Cash Money's early catalog.
After meeting CM CEO Bryan "Birdman" Williams in the mid-1990s, Mannie jumped onboard as the label's in-house producer. In 2005, Mannie split from the label, and Cash Money has marched on, dominating the rap charts with artists like Wayne, Drake and Nicki Minaj.
So what does Mannie Fresh think of the new Cash Money sound? MTV News caught up with Fresh at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee, to find out.
"Some things I love, some things I hate," the platinum producer said matter-of-factly before switching the conversation to the South's overall hip-hop landscape. "I think there's a lot of stuff in the South right now that sounds the same."
In his heyday, Fresh was known for his distinct country sound and ad-libbing on songs he produced just to hype it up. Hit records like Juvenile's "Ha," B.G.'s "Bling, Bling" and Lil Wayne's "Go DJ" exemplified Fresh's sonic style and helped set the standard for other producers below the Mason-Dixon in the early 2000s. Now, Mannie says it's time for a change.
"Even if it's the way my music sounds, I think it's overdone, it's time for something new to happen," he said. "Now anything that goes left, and is new and is creative, I love it. But if you mimicking somebody and you're overdoing it, I don't know. I don't get it. That's what I'm saying."
What do you think of Cash Money's evolution? Let us know in the comments!