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To say that 'Practice,' the emo Toronto MC's clever re-working of Juvenile's 1998 classic club workout 'Back That Azz Up,' was a surprise is an understatement. For starters Juve and the throwback track's groundbreaking producer Mannie Fresh both parted ways from Drake's current label home Cash Money Records under negative circumstances -- both claimed they were cheated out of money.
Yet Fresh, who has since made peace with his former label, is giving 'Practice' a thumbs up.
"I feel like if there was any new artist on Cash Money that deserves to touch that song it's Drake," Fresh tells The BoomBox. "I met the brother a couple of times and he's been nothing but super cordial. I was DJing in New York and the dude came and rocked the party with me. So that meant a lot to me. I just felt like Drake didn't have to do that. We didn't talk about business... We just had a good time."
Fresh says what impressed him the most was Drake's humble request to use 'Back That Azz Up.'
"We spoke about it before he recorded the song," Fresh says of the evolution of the track. "I even sent him some beats. I know my history and business of it kind of makes it crazy because who he is signed with. But Cash Money reached out to me and handled their business in a professional way. Drake called and made sure to say, 'Get in touch with Mannie, give him whatever he wants and make sure the business is straight.' That's all I've ever asked for. I never had a problem with Cash Money. I just had a problem with the way they did business."
Fresh continues: "I feel like Drake is a different artist. I know he is signed to Cash Money, but I would not put him in the middle of my business with them. I'm big enough to say, "Yo, whatever happened between me and Cash Money should not affect what happens between me and Drake."
And according to Fresh, he still has love for the imprint now headlined by superstar rapper and Young Money mogul Lil Wayne. "I still feel like they are my brothers," he says. "We grew up together. There were things that happened that I didn't like, but I still consider [Birdman] and Ronald [Cash Money co-founder Ronald "Slim" Williams] my brothers. Regardless what anyone of us says -- Juve, B.G., Turk -- we still got Cash Money DNA."
As for the future, Fresh -- who in recent years has produced hits for the likes of T.I. ('Top Back') and Young Jeezy ('And Then What') -- is in the lab working on new music. He points to his latest banger, 'Power,' a recently released Juvenile track that features omnipresent rhyme giant Rick Ross.
"The crazy thing is the track is not one of my greatest songs," Fresh says of the song, which has garnered major press among hip-hop bloggers. "It's just that nobody is doing songs that sound like 'Power.' That's what makes it so good. Everything sounds the same right now on the radio, so let's just go a little different route. I feel good about how the fans have accepted me again. I'm trying to get an album out of Juvenile. There's more music to come."