Mannie Fresh was the hip-hop producer behind various Cash Money hits with artists like Lil Wayne, Juvenile, BG, and Baby. With such accolades under his belt, it’s normal to assume that he was handsomely rewarded for his work. Well, it turns out that it was just the opposite. It took him a number of years before he woke up and realized that he wasn’t being paid what he was worth. For that reason, we feel that it’s important to bring light to his newly found realization.
Mannie Fresh discussed the situation with All Hip Hop. We highlighted the following:
Mannie Fresh: I mean, truthfully it’s basically based on this. I did albums for Cash Money, I didn’t do singles, I did whole albums for Cash Money, and at the end of the day I’m saying I wasn’t paid for albums so its like you’re doing 10 songs and somebody pays you for 1. What would that be equivalent to? I just said hey this is an example of what it would be equivalent to and its no secret that everybody know why I left Cash Money. We’re on speaking terms now but truth be told, yeah it was behind money, everybody know what it was.
AllHipHop.com: You say you guys are on speaking terms with Baby, Wayne and them? Like you think you may work with them again or you just keeping it moving?
Mannie Fresh: In truth, I will work with them again based on this, if they cut the check. Its not going to be based on just some words but we done talked about that, we done been there and by the grace of God, we ain’t enemies, none of us hate each other but business is business and that was a hard lesson for me to learn. I was in love with doing music, I wasn’t paying attention to my business so I’m not even going to say that was all Cash Money’s fault that was my fault as well but I was a young dude that didn’t know any better. So now that I know better, I’m not going to plug in my scene with out doing business and I got my beats and my paper work right.
Four Lessons Learned
What’s happened with Mannie Fresh has already passed. Instead of pointing fingers and pouting (a la Beanie Sigel), learn the lesson and move forward. No one is more responsible for yourself other than yourself. If you can’t take care of yourself, do not expect anyone else to do it for you. So in business, keep the following things in mind:
1) Make your contracts the blueprint. Keep business and friendship separate. So much so that you draft a contract with all expectations written down and have it briefed over with a lawyer. With Mannie Fresh, his contract was surely written differently from his expectations. Otherwise, he could easily go to court to get what was promised to him. Since he failed to negotiate his earnings based on friendship and trust, he was screwed.
2) Keep the future in mind. Know that money changes people. Once again, your good friends may have been reliable and loyal when they had little funds and fame. However, people can change and get greedy once they become famous. Plan for that by having a contract that addresses future changes with clauses that meet your expectations. If your friend wants to ditch you once they become famous, create a buy-out clause to address this possibility.
3) Never skimp on lawyers. If you want the best possible solution for yourself, you need the best possible representation. Don’t have friends look over your contract for you. Make sure you have a non-biased professional third party to look over your contract and negotiate on your behalf.
4) The Entertainment Industry is a business. Artists, actors, etc. can forget about business as they are blinded by their hunger for fame and attention. However, everything that will happen to you does stem from the contract you sign. Therefore, do the due diligence. Read up on people who were once in a similar position, got screwed by their contracts, and learn from what they had to say on the lessons they learned.
In the end, everyone’s looking out for number one. Make sure that you are too.
*Image courtesy of Hip Hop Galaxy.
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