CO-CEO OF BLUEPRINT GROUP/MAVERICK
Cortez “Tez” Bryant not only guides the artists under his purview as a manager, but he also shepherds the next vanguard of executives as a dedicated educator and mentor. The Co-C.E.O. of The Blueprint Group and partner at Maverick unlocks the knowledge of a storied career galvanizing game-changing talent such as Lil Wayne, Drake, and Nicki Minaj in his roles as a professor at Jackson State University and co-founder of Be Great. His run has been widely lauded and thoroughly chronicled, to say the least. He’s notably graced the cover of Billboard Magazine and consistently occupies spots on coveted lists such as “Power 100” and R&B/Hip-Hop Power Players as well as appearing in the Urban Power Issue. Among other achievements, Complex celebrated him among the “25 Most Powerful People in Rap.” Currently, he manages a high-powered roster, including Lil Nas X, T.I., Trippie Redd, and G-Eazy in addition to overseeing various tech ventures and spearheading Blueprint Distro—the distribution arm of The Blueprint Group in partnership with AWAL.
Ultimately, he approaches each endeavor with the same reverence and respect for the music.
“We’re managers first,” he states. “We’re always thinking about the artists and not P&L statements or bottom-line analytics. We believe in development. We’re here for the ride, so we train our artists to be real businessmen and women. We nurture them hands-on.”
That’s how his career began. Tez’s childhood best friend Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr. needed help navigating the music business, so he asked Tez to manage him. The proud HBCU graduate planned on pursuing a career in education, but “looking out for my best friend in this crazy business” derailed that plan. For the next 16 years, he oversaw all aspects of Lil Wayne’s career as he notched three #1 albums, dozens of multi platinum plaques, and five GRAMMY® Awards. His second client would be none other than Drake as Tez fueled his transformation into the most successful artist of his generation. As Nicki Minaj’s manager, he ushered her to legendary status as “the most successful female rapper of all-time.” Simultaneously, he served as C.O.O. of Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment and worked alongside The Revels Group to introduce G-Eazy as a multi platinum chart-topping force. Most recently, he welcomed Lil Nas X as a client, guiding him to superstardom as a diamond-selling outlier. Plus, he advises on tech collaborations with Tsū, Triller, and more.
Beyond The Blueprint Group, he joined the faculty at his alma mater Jackson State University during 2020, teaching the popular “Careers in Music” class. He also launched the interactive educational platform Be Great. The latter hosts online courses taught by influential black innovators, artists, and thought leaders.
“When I got into the music business and lifted the curtain, the representation for jobs didn’t look like the talent for the most part,” he explains. “There weren’t many black people. In the poor urban neighborhoods a lot of us grew up in, we didn’t receive the exposure to even know these jobs exist in the business. It’s still a problem now. So, I decided to pay it forward. I returned to my roots at a school that gave me a lot of survival tools and finally presented that exposure. I’m doing the same thing with Be Great.”
In the end, Tez is paving a path for the industry’s future on the stage and behind-the-scenes.
“If you do business with us, we will work as fair partners straight up,” he leaves off. “We’re also going to take what we do and give back as much as possible.”