Former two-time All-Star and All-NBA forward Zach Randolph has big plans for NLess Entertainment, the independent record label he co-founded with Marcus “Head” Howell. Beyond representing multiplatinum artists like Moneybagg Yo, Randolph wants to branch out into sports representation as well.
Moneybagg Yo signed with NLess in 2016 and released his first studio album, “Reset”. From there the artist and label saw a steady rise through his fifth album, “A Gangsta’s Pain,” in 2021. A platinum success featuring two hit singles, “Wockesha” and “Time Today.”
Zach Randolph And Moneybagg Yo
Randolph sees a work ethic in Moneybagg Yo similar to what he displayed, particularly during his time with the Memphis Grizzlies.
“The key to Bagg’s success is just his drive,” Randolph told Business Insider. “All the time he puts in a studio, and he’s putting his creative mind together and coming up with songs, albums. It’s his worth ethic. He’s always in the labs.
“Like me in basketball, I’m always in the gym. That’s how I get better. So with this, like I tell a lot of the artists, my artists: Keep on working, keep pushing, keep going for it. Stay in the studio, stay in the lab, work on your sound, work on your delivery. All that plays a part of Bagg long run.”
One of the keys to success is perfecting your craft and having pride in the work and the journey. Any of the all-time great ball players and entertainers will say some version of that. If you don’t love the work, you’ll never have the longevity and success.
Howell agrees with Randolph.
“Man, staying in the studio,” Howell reinforced. “Bagg work hard. Actually, he probably in the studio now. We have to drag the man out the studio. Bagg’s a guy, he like to work out, he like to take care of his kids, and he like to be in the studio all day. So, working hard, like Zach said, you know, like he be in the gym all day. That’s what Bagg do all day. Being in the studio. And you gotta stay in the studio if you wanna get successful. ‘Cause that make you good in your craft.”
A big believer in allowing artists the room to be creative and grow into their talents, Howell started expanding the NLess roster with the success of Bagg. He added rising artists Big 30, Big Homiie G, Dee Mula, Lonely Girl, Leebo, and Mud.
NLess Entertainment The Next Roc Nation?
With Jay-Z’s Roc Nation as a blueprint, Randolph and Howell want to expand into sports management.
“All my connections and everything with the league and just being around it, and not only that, just being respected,” Randolph said. “You know, a guy that’s gonna be straight up and down, ain’t gonna be talking behind your back. Gon’ be real with you in your face. And I want the best for the players. I’ve been through a lot and I can tell players, talk to the young guys, like I talk on the Grizzlies, about things I went through, and how to get that billion dollars and stay outta trouble. ‘Cause the league is different now. It’s a lot of opportunities than it was when I played. The salary has tripled, doubled. So it’s a lot to it, man.
“You know, I came in the league at 18, like a lot of guys, I was young, so I learned a lot. I bumped my head a few times. So just things like that, you know, staying outta trouble, and not bumping your head, and taking care of your business. Keep your name outta media. ‘Cause the first time something happen, it’s a stigma. You have a stigma. That’s how the league is. So you gotta make sure you keep that clean.”
Randolph is one of the great stories in the NBA of turning around a negative first impression. During his time in Memphis he became and still is a pillar of the community through all of his hard work and efforts.
There’s a certain star point guard on the Grizzlies who could possibly use some counsel from Randolph.