“I think my mind was moving in way too many places to even make a solo album. I don’t know how many songs I had on that record. I’m usually the guy that goes this beat is for Juve, this beat is for Wayne, this beat is was B.G. and Turk. Somebody let me into a studio and let me do my own album. I’m like, ‘Dude, you gotta stop me. You can’t let me go wild.’ [Laughs] But I do love that album. Regardless what anyone else says it showed a lot of different styles from me. I could give you something political. I could tell you how I felt about my Mayor in New Orleans. I had everything on there. It was a one-time-of-my-life song…that song was so heartfelt for me. I knew I was blessed with a lot of material things, but at the same time it’s not the most important thing to me. Like I said, the most important thing to me in the world to me is family. The Mind of Mannie Fresh was something that really hit home for me.
But when I dropped the album I started noticing some things. I had ‘Real Big,’ which was the first single. But at the time, Cash Money started doing stuff that became a conflict with my album. Baby was shooting videos. I remember publicists that was working the project was like, ‘Why are we working Baby’s video and he doesn’t even have an album out right now?’ All eyes were supposed to be on this Mannie album. We could break ‘Real Big’ to some good numbers. But Baby was ready to go to another single. I’m like, ‘Why?’ To a certain degree I felt like I grew up with Baby. Yes, Cash Money is your company…you making money, but I feel sabotaged right now. The eye was not on you. You won’t let me have my 15 minutes. I just didn’t understand. The whole thing was crazy.
And on top of that there was money issues. I always paid attention to the music. Then Hurricane Katrina came along. I was in Canada doing shows during that time, and the crazy thing was nobody in Cash Money had really left out of state to do their own thing. So I knew what the potential was. I started taking care of my own business. I’ll give you a perfect example. I got a call for a show and the guy was like, ‘I want you and the Big Tymers. Is that two different fees?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, if you want me to perform my album right now that’s another thing. If you want me to come up with Baby we can come up with fee.’ So the guy calls me back and says, ‘Well, do you want me to send you a deposit for the Big Tymers and for your thing?’ I tell the guy, ‘Yes, send me a deposit.’ So he sends me a deposit for the Big Tymers, which was about $15 grand. So I’m telling him, ‘Yo…you sent me Baby’s money as well.’ And he’s like, ‘Nah I sent you your money, too.’ I didn’t say anything else…I just waited it out and we did the show.
So I’m talking to Baby and I ask him, ‘Yo, what have you been booking the shows for? You been telling me you been getting $15,000 for the Big Tymers.’ And he was like, ‘Yeah, that’s what we’ve been getting.’ So I make the call to the booker and he was like, ‘Well, I’ve been booking ya’ll for $30,000 a show.’ So I addressed the issue with Baby. I’m telling him, ‘Hey man, you’ve been telling me that it’s 15 and I’ve been giving you part of the 15! I never thought you would be that person.’ That was hurtful. All of that started making me pay attention to what was going on with the business. I had to take my face out of the drum machine and keyboards and start looking at my paper work. I realized, damn…I’ve been doing the music so long I forgot to get paid.
Me and Baby talked about this on several different occasions. I told him that before this whole thing goes crazy let’s straighten it out. I felt like Cash Money had every opportunity in the world to straighten it out. I thought that we were brothers. If we are just going to ignore it what else is there to do? I just ended up leaving. I’m not going to hold a grudge against Baby. I don’t hate none of them. I still see everyone at Cash Money as brothers. We all still talk. But I had to move on.” [During his June 11, 2011 headlining set at Bonnaroo, Lil Wayne invited Fresh onstage in a show of solidarity. The two embraced for the first time since the producer’s public falling out with Cash Money in 2005.]