Justin Bieber may have snubbed Floyd Mayweather ahead of his fight against Conor McGregor Saturday night by unfollowing him on Instagram, but Mayweather has plenty of other young artists in his corner thanks to one of his newer business ventures: his record label.
Three years ago as he was planning to retire from boxing, Mayweather hired his longtime friend Anzel Jennings to help him launch TMT Music, which has since signed five acts.
“He wanted to go strong into the music industry,” recalls Jennings, who had worked for years at Houston’s Rap-A-Lot Record and now runs Double Dose Entertainment, still managing acts like Bun B and The Sauce Factory.
Now, even as Mayweather comes out of retirement for one more fight, TMT Music is still a top priority. Jennings tells Billboard he’s been commuting between Houston and Las Vegas, working with TMT’s budding acts that include hip-hop artist Lil Jamez, DJ Jay Bling and pop singer Sunny Malouf. All three will be performing at the weigh-in before the fight.
TMT has released only singles so far and has no major-label distributor, but Lil Jamez has an album-length project in the works called To Live and Die in Minnesota, according to Jennings. Mayweather "wants to help young kids with their careers,” he says.
Among the other artists in whom Mayweather and Jennings have taken an interest is Toronto rapper Friyie, who recorded a song called “Money Team,” inspired by his first meeting with Mayweather, and the boxer has been playing it when he comes out to fight. They haven’t signed Friyie to the label, but “Floyd’s supporting him,” says Jennings, who helped program the “Fight Night” playlist on Spotify with the tunes to which Mayweather trains.
It’s not the Mayweather camp’s first foray into music: more than a decade ago Mayweather launched hip-hop label Philthy Rich Records, which was run by Mayweather’s veteran team member James McNair. But the new TMT Music, which McNair is also helping to oversee, is scouting for artists from all genres, not just hip-hop, and might benefit from Jennings’ seasoned understanding of the music industry.
As for Mayweather, he isn’t interested in becoming a music star himself, but sources say he has a knack for songwriting and has penned plenty of verses just for fun.