The Cash Money Records of the late ’90s and early 2000’s had a secret weapon named Mannie Fresh. Mannie played a pivotal role in the label’s early success. He nurtured the raw talents of young stars Lil Wayne, Juvenile, B.G., and Turk and conceptualized many of the Cash Money’s biggest hits. He produced banging beats, wrote catchy hooks, suggested flows, had the best adlibs and brought an undeniable energy to every record he touched. While most producers were getting placements here and there, Mannie was simultaneously producing multiple albums in their entirety. Considered the architect of that classic Cash Money sound, he’s also credited with introducing New Orleans bounce music to the mainstream. “I was just doing music,” says the New Orleans native. “It was just my idea of what music was. I never set out to create this whole new sound. It was just what I felt and as a DJ it was more of ‘What would the DJ play to get the party started?’” After parting ways with the label that not only he helped build, but also made him a star many thought his career would be over, but of course, it wasn’t. He continued his chart success with artists like T.I. and Jeezy. Here, Mannie Fresh talks to Life+Times about how Cash Money classics and T.I. anthems came together and how Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter saved Cash Money Records.