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BeatTips Top 30 Beatmakers of All Time: Mannie Fresh


#16 – Mannie Fresh


Mannie Fresh. New Orleans bounce master and the creator of the Cash Money sound.

Trap music may be the invention of Atlanta’s DJ Toomp, but in the netherworld between Miami bass and Atlanta trap is New Orleans bounce. And no one is more responsible for popularizing New Orleans bounce than Mannie Fresh. To the less informed, New Orleans bounce sounds an awful lot like trap music. And that’s no coincidence, as both styles and sounds are the offspring of the mighty Miami bass. But New Orleans bounce stands apart from standard Atlanta trap music (sound wise, not subject matter) in the way that it swings and move. In this regard, Mannie Fresh really shined.

Mannie Fresh’s brand of New Orleans bounce was a couple slight pitch levels above the mid-range pitch level of trap. (For a similar music comparison, think of the rhythm guitar tempo of roots reggae, then compare it to its Jamaican father rock steady. You’ll notice that rock steady jumps a tad bit faster, yet stays in the same similar pocket.) To be certain, Mannie Fresh could slow the tempo down to the trap zone; but even here, he’d stamp the zone with his unique touch.

But New Orleans bounce aside for a moment, it’s worth noting that Mannie Fresh was influenced by electro funk and earlier New York hip hop/rap as much as he was by Miami bass. Listen through his late 1980s catalog of his first group, Gregory D and DJ Mannie Fresh, and you’ll quickly learn that Mannie Fresh spent years in a New York/Miami aesthetic warp before he carved on his special brand od New Orleans bounce. Indeed, Mannie Fresh style and sound wasn’t (isn’t) a thoughtless, sparsely laced run-of-the-mill trap sound that anyone with a keyboard or computer could replicate. His style and sound had depth, and his arrangements always had a sound wall that were dense and deeply rhythmic.

As THE in-house producer for Cash Money Records, Mannie Fresh created the Cash Money sound. Wherever side you come down on the south and its contributions to the beatmaking tradition, creating a singular, widely recognizable sound for label is no easy task. This is one of the biggest reasons that I rank Mannie Fresh so high. The sound that he created for Cash Money helped the New Orleans indie label become one the most influential brands in hip hop/rap history. Mannie Fresh’s Cash Money sound was ubiquitous in the late 1990s and mid-2000s. (In fact, I believe it especially influenced many of the music makers in Atlanta at the time.) It should also be mentioned that for all of the praise Lil Wayne receives (or formally received), he cut his teeth on and grew to full lyrical maturity over Mannie Fresh beats.

Mannie Fresh Beats (Songs) Recommended for Study:

SPECIAL NOTE: Listen to the Hot Boys Guerilla Warfare album.

“Respect My Mind” – Hot Boys beat by Mannie Fresh

“Go DJ” – Lil Wayne feat. Mannie Fresh beat by Mannie Fresh

“Bling Bling” – B.G. feat. Cash Money Millionaires beat by Mannie Fresh

“I Got That Fire” – Juvenile feat. Mannie Fresh beat by Mannie Fresh

“I Feel” – Hot Boys beat by Mannie Fresh

“U Understand” – Juvenile beat by Mannie Fresh

“Never Had Shit” – Juvenile beat by Mannie Fresh


About Author

Amir Said (aka Sa’id) is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of BeatTips. A writer, publisher, and beatmaker/rapper from New York, Said is the author of a number of books, including ‘The BeatTips Manual,’ ‘The Art of Sampling,’ ‘Ghetto Brother,’ and ‘The Truth About New York.’ He is also a recording artist with a number of music projects, including his latest album 'The Best of Times.' Follow him on Twitter at: @amirsaid and @BeatTipsManual

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