EXCLUSIVE: Mannie Fresh Opens Up About “Vax That Thang Up” Backlash

Speaking to AllHipHop, the lauded producer admitted he was baffled by some people’s reactions, considering the lyrics to the original song weren’t exactly “cancel culture” friendly.

Once the COVID-19 pandemic began its rampage across the United States in March 2020, the race to find a vaccine was on. Some people were vehemently against it, while others couldn’t wait for any kind of protection from the coronavirus.

Producer Mannie Fresh—well known for his work with Lil Wayne and producing Juvenile’s 1998 hit “Back That Azz Up”—fell in the latter category. In fact, he was so in favor of the COVID-19 vaccine, he made a video about it. In July 2021, Mannie Fresh, Juvenile and Mia X convened for a remake of “Back That Azz Up” called “Vax That Thang Up.” As the title suggests, it served as a pro-vaccine anthem solely created in hopes of convincing people to get the shot.

Speaking to AllHipHop, Mannie Fresh reflected on the backlash he received after its release. He admitted he was baffled by some people’s reactions, considering the lyrics to the original song weren’t exactly “cancel culture” friendly.

“When we did the ‘Vax That Thang Up’ song or whatever, it wasn’t a song—it was just a parody telling people to get vaccinated,” he explained. “But it was something that I believed in and I was saying to folks, ‘If you don’t, it’s OK. You don’t have to go and do this. It’s not that serious.’ But there were people saying, ‘You destroyed the song and this song was the greatest song!’ And I’m like, ‘Do you know the title of the song?’ It’s called ‘Back That Azz Up.’ I’m like, ‘Did you listen to the lyrics of this song?'”

Seeing people lose their minds over “Vax That Thang Up” taught Mannie Fresh a valuable lesson about cyber-bullying, something he didn’t really experience until the video was released.

“I never understood cyber-bullying until that came out,” he added. “It didn’t mess with me because I feel like I’m a strong person. But I know kids got to go through this s### sometimes with people. If you got to go through that, it’s tough because folks was going crazy. They really felt angry. They were saying stuff like, ‘You ruined my childhood by doing this’ and blah, blah, blah. You need therapy if this ruined your life [laughs].”

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But that’s all in the past—Mannie Fresh is focused on the future, which includes his upcoming collaborative album with The Cool Kids, more work with Lil Wayne and his own project.

“I’m working with Lil Wayne, of course, 2 Chainz,” he said. “I’m actually going to put out some music again, just some Mannie Fresh stuff. It takes a long time for you to get the confidence to say, ‘You know what? I’m not really doing this for the masses or for money.’ It’s just like, if I like what I’m doing, then it’ll take itself.

“I know what happens because I’ve been in deals where I have to walk away because of creative differences, where the label was trying to tell me what to do and I’m just like, ‘You’re killing the art. You can’t tell me this is what’s going on right now and the way I should do it.’ That’s not me. It took a while for me to realize Mannie Fresh don’t belong with a record company. It’s just Mannie Fresh has got to put records out.”