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XXL has put together a nice story about Cortez Bryant and how he is one of hip-hops most influential figures. Check out an excerpt below and read the full story here.

“The line of cars to enter the Drake VS Lil Wayne concert stretches for miles. It’s Labor Day weekend in Atlanta and the entire city is seemingly here—from dread-locked Zone 6 trappers to Georgia Tech sorority girls. Horns are honked, bootleg t-shirts hawked, and Wayne featuring Drake’s “Believe Me” blasts from promo tents assembled by local radio stations. The mood is part religious pilgrimage, part “Players Holiday.”

The commotion only increases backstage. Triceratops-sized bodyguards protect entrances to black tour buses, each a block long. Staffers scurry in and out of the temporary nerve center established at Aaron’s Amphiteatre at Lakewood. All 19,000 tickets are sold out. The show starts in 45 minutes. Guest list passes are being frantically dispatched to everyone’s cousins, best friends, and favorite Southern rap stars.

Amidst the chaos, Cortez Bryant stays calm as a quarterback in the zone. After all, the longtime manager for Lil Wayne and partial mastermind of Drake and Nicki Minaj’s rise has been doing this for a decade. In that time, the co-CEO of The Blueprint Group helped transform the artists on Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment from ascendant stars to global icons and brand ambassadors.

As the Chief Operations Officer of Young Money—the label that Wayne founded in 2005 under the imprimatur of Cash Money Records and Universal Republic—Bryant has spearheaded the strategic roll out of each YMCMB artist. He’s earned their trust through a combination of commercial instincts and devotion to carving out a unique path true to each musician’s persona. But there’s an alternate reality in which it doesn’t happen. “This was never really an option in my head,” Cortez says, acknowledging the hive buzzing around him. Wearing a black five star general t-shirt, black shorts, and lensless black glasses, the 35-year old New Orleans native sits inconspicuously in a backstage garden area.”