Reservoir buys Mannie Fresh’s catalog, including publishing and recorded music rights

Credit: The Come Up Show / CC BY 2.0
Mannie Fresh

Reservoir Media has confirmed its acquisition of the catalog of multi-Platinum, Grammy-nominated hip-hop producer, and artist Byron Thomas, professionally known as Mannie Fresh.

The deal includes both publishing and recorded music rights, and comes off the back of MBW revealing that Reservoir had – to the end of 2022 – spent overUSD $695 million on catalog acquisitions since its 2007 launch.

Mannie Fresh spent a large portion of his career producing for Cash Money Records.

He was the label’s only in-house producer when the company started in 1991. He is credited with producing nearly all songs across 15 multi-Platinum, Platinum, or Gold albums for Cash Money from 1998 to 2004 including projects by Juvenile, Lil Wayne, T.I., B.G., and Hot Boys.

He produced smash hit songs like Gold-selling “Back That Azz Up” by Juvenile, 2x-Platinum-selling “Go DJ” by Lil Wayne, Gold-selling “Top Back” by T.I., and more.

Rolling Stone featured “Back That Azz Up” on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The 4x-Platinum album 400 Degreez by Juvenile, which was produced by Mannie, also appeared on the outlet’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list.

Mannie Fresh also performed as part of the hip-hop duo Big Tymers, alongside Bryan Williams, professionally known as Birdman.

Together they released five albums and several hit singles, including “Get Your Roll On,” “Number One Stunna,” “This Is How We Do,” and more. With influence from his father DJ Sabu, Mannie drew upon his roots as a New Orleans DJ to mix layers of hip-hop, funk, and Southern bounce to create the distinct New Orleans hip-hop sound.

To this day, he continues to work with some of hip-hop’s biggest stars, including Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, T-Pain, Big K.R.I.T., and Young Jeezy, and his catalog is frequently sampled by artists like Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and YoungBoy Never Broke Again, among others.

Mannie Fresh commented, “It’s great to be joining up with Faith Newman and the entire Reservoir team. I’m grateful for their support, and I know they’ll take care of my music.”

Reservoir Executive Vice President of A&R and Catalog Development Faith Newman also commented, “Mannie’s clever production cultivated a powerful moment for Southern hip-hop, and his distinctive sound helped pave the way for other producers for years to come.” She added, “I have personally been a fan of his for decades, and it’s a pleasure to bring him into the Reservoir family.”

Rell Lafargue, Reservoir President and Chief Operating Officer, said, “I was born and raised in Louisiana and witnessed Mannie’s meteoric rise from a local DJ in New Orleans to a globally acclaimed producer, writer, and performer who helped break some of the genre’s biggest talents.

“It means a lot to me to continue to build Reservoir’s connection to creators like Mannie, who represents the highest caliber of contemporary music from New Orleans, and we’re pleased to be the new stewards of his hit music.”

New York-headquartered Reservoir, led by CEO Golnar Khosrowshahi, posted USD $122.6 million in overall revenues during the 2022 calendar year, according to the firm’s public quarterly financials.

That figure was up 26.7% YoY on the equivalent calendar year figure that the company posted for 2021, according to MBW’s calculations. (Reservoir’s FY runs through to the end of March each year.)Music Business Worldwide