By Maurice Bobb
Kanye West doesn’t forget where he came from, or, in the case of former Cash Money Records super-producer Mannie Fresh, where he could have come from. It’s common knowledge that Fresh worked with Yeezy on G.O.O.D. Music’s compilation album, Cruel Summer, and that the former Big Tymer signed a song deal with ‘Ye’s label for an undisclosed amount, but in a recent interview with Vlad TV, a lesser known fact about West’s humble beginnings came to light: the “Black Skinhead” MC once borrowed production equipment from Fresh and asked Cash Money Records for a deal.
“I’ve been knowing him actually before he even had a deal,” Fresh told Vlad TV. “He actually came to Cash Money looking for a deal, and I been knowing him since then, When Kanye and Mikkey first came as a group, he didn’t have no equipment so I lent him my equipment. This was my first introduction to him, and the only thing I can say is it was a blessing, because he came back and looked back. Without knowing him, I just felt like he was a good dude and lent him some equipment or whatever to do what he had to do and he never forgot about it.”
Hindsight being 20/20, it’s safe to assume that Cash Money wishes it hadn’t passed on the 21-time Grammy Award winner in favor of Mikkey Halsted, but it would be equally impossible to envision Kanye without his Roc-A-Fella roots or his days throwing the diamond in the sky or, more notably, his many collaborations with Jay-Z, up to and including their seminal joint LP, Watch the Throne.
With each producer releasing new projects in the immediate future, Kanye with Yeezus (June 18) and Fresh with OMFGOD, Fresh pondered the differences in the way they construct their hits. Kanye employs many different methods, but for Fresh, it’s all about that personal touch.
“That’s just not really my thing, but everybody’s so used to that, so that’s the standard,” Fresh said about the practice of emailing beats. “I’m more of like, ’Hey, dude, let me get in the studio and let’s see what we come up with.”