Love it or hate it, Mannie Fresh said the get rich and stay fly trend in hip hop was trailblazed by none other than Cash Money in the early 2000s.
From the gator boots with the pimped out Gucci suits, Mannie said he and his New Orleans crew were just doing what they do best and not trying to cause a cultural shift in music.
“That was our category. That’s what we were good at,” he told Vibe in a feature published Friday (Oct. 7). As one half of the Big Tymers, Mannie did his fair share of rapping about being hood rich, rocking iced out jewelry, and just overall stuntin.’ For more than a decade, the New Orleans-bred artist also laced mixtapes and chart-topping tracks with beats for several artists, including Lil Wayne.
“We was right with Nas, we was alright with Easy E, we was alright with Public Enemy. You know what I’m saying? We was alright with Slick Rick. It was just a category. But nobody thought rap was going to turn into get rich, get rich, get rich, get rich,” he said.
Admittedly, the hitmaker is not thrilled that the bling bling laced narrative has become the subject of a lot of artists’ content, so much so that rap can feel homogenized and lacking authenticity. “To me, when I was growing up, rap was a teacher. It had a whole bunch of categories, and now we on get rich. That’s all we on. Get rich, get rich, get rich,” he noted.
But it is not all frustration. The “#1 Stunna” producer said he is still able to appreciate the musical efforts of other rappers. “I have my love moments where I’m just like, that was cool … I love, and it’s crazy because we only got a handful of them, the Kendricks, the J. Coles, because they the dudes who giving you the message and radio is not playing them,” he said.
He continued, “As DJs sometimes we got to dig and play those records ourselves to bring it to our culture, but radio and the clubs not playing that. It’s all right to be in whatever category you in ,if you’re a storyteller, if you a bling rapper, whatever, and all of that.”