In the middle of our live interview with Mannie Fresh at NPR's headquarters in D.C., Ali asked Mannie how he approaches DJing — does he play what he wants to hear? Or does he feed the crowd? "When I want you to understand something, I remix it," Mannie said. "If it's Earth Wind and Fire, and you not getting it, I'ma make you get it."
Laughing, and speaking for everyone in the room, Ali then asked if he could get a couple of those Mannie Fresh special remixes. "I got you!" said Mannie, and no one in the crowd let him forget it. After we had finished our conversation, and said our thank yous, he walked over to the decks. For the next 20 mins he put New Orleans behind songs by Kenny Chesney, Hall & Oates and Trouble Funk — leading off with his remix of "September," which somehow makes the warm embrace of Earth Wind and Fire's song even more cushy, homey and right on time.
"September," Earth Wind and Fire
"Beat It," Michael Jackson
"Showtime at the Apollo Theme"
"Boogie Down Bronx," Man Parrish
"California Love," Tupac feat. Dr. Dre
"Let's Wait Awhile," Janet Jackson
"(Lay Your Head On My) Pillow," Tony Toni Tone
"Somewhere With You," Kenny Chesney
"One More Night," Maroon 5
"Funky Soul Makossa," Nairobi
"Billie Jean," Michael Jackson
"Back That Ass Up," Juvenile feat. Mannie Fresh and Lil Wayne
"I Can't Go For That," Hall & Oates
"Good Life," Kanye West feat. T-Pain
"Trying Girls Out," The Persuaders (used by Kanye West for "Girls, Girls, Girls (Part 2)," Jay Z)
"That's How Long," The Chi-Lites (used by Just Blaze for "December 4th," Jay Z)
"A Dream," DeBarge (used by Daz for "I Ain't Mad At Cha," Tupac)
"Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City," Bobby "Blue" Bland (used by Kanye West for "Heart of the City (Ain't No Love)," Jay Z)
"Sunrise," The Originals (used by Kanye West for "Guess Who's Back," Scarface feat. Jay Z, Beanie Sigel and Kanye West)
"Start This Off Right Tonight (Remix)," Trouble Funk