50 Cent, “Crew Love” (Originally Published December/January 2012)

50-cent-floyd

50 Cent has been hanging out with welterweight boxing champ Floyd Mayweather Jr. A lot lately. In fact, they’ve formed a sort of club. What exactly is the money team?

Interview: Vanessa Satten
Image: Perou

THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS IN CASH, MAYBE MORE, IN STUDIO B OF BROOKLYN’S FAST ASHLEY’S STUDIOS, AND IT ALL BELONGS TO 50 CENT AND FLOYD MAYWEATHER. THE MULTIMILLIONAIRE PALS ARE BOTH IN TOWN FOR SOME QUICK BUSINESS AND ARE HAPPY TO VISIT WITH EACH OTHER AT AN XXL PHOTO SHOOT. THEY’VE BEEN GOOD BUDDIES for almost 10 years. 50 met the Michigan-born boxer at the 2002 Mixshow Power Summit conference in Puerto Rico and often stays at Mayweather’s house when he’s in Las Vegas. The warmth of their friendship has been documented on the HBO reality series 24/7, which has featured Floyd—the current WBC World Welterweight Champion, with a record of 42-0—in five seasons over the past four years. More recently there was a funny bit where the two of them talk on their “money phones,” thick stacks of $100 bills that they hold up to their ears like receivers.

They have a lot in common, each rising from violent, impoverished pasts to the upper echelons of their extremely lucrative fields, and each often painted negatively in the press. Most recently, in September, the 34-year-old Floydhit the jackpot with a victorious bout against Victor Ortiz at the MGM Grand—he had negotiated a deal wherein he earned a percentage of ticket sales, merchandise, sponsorships and broadcasting rights. Lately, 50 and Floyd have been talking a lot about The Money Team, a sort of club they’ve formed among business associates, such as Mayweather’s manager, the controversial, publicity-averse concert and boxing promoter Al Haymon.

For 50 and Floyd, even when they’re just hanging out with friends, the business never stops. The money phones stay ringing.

When you talk to each other on the money phone, what do you talk about?
Floyd: Making more money.
50: Making more money. [Laughing]
Floyd: We talk to each other on the money phone about making
more money. [Laughing]

So what is The Money Team?
Floyd: The Money Team is just… He can tell you that. It’s just us…
50: Check it out, Floyd. When they see us come and be out and stuff like that, it created a brand for that, for us to be in together. So that turned into—
Floyd: The Money Team is money, is power and is respect.
50: It’s allowing all of us to communicate with each other on a level where—

Who is “us”?
Floyd: It’s a lot of us. The team is, The Money Team is worldwide, and it’s growing. It’s growing each day.
50: You know what it is? It’s more of a—
Floyd: And it’s organized. When you with The Money Team, it’s, like, you make certain calls, and we can make certain things happen for you. I don’t care where you at—we can make something happen for you. You know what I’m saying?

Do you have to have a lot of money to be a part of The Money Team?
Floyd: No, no, no. But you owe me one.

So The Money Team is an actual, functioning thing? It’s not just, “Ooh, it’s cool, we got a lot of money”?
Floyd: No, The Money Team is not funny.
50: Look how much fun we have. Today I gave him a million
dollars. After we done with this—

You’re just gonna give it to him?
50: No, I got him a million dollars.
Floyd: He put something together for me. Ain’t no different for him. Like, when he come out there, I say, “50, okay, listen. Do you believe me?” He says, “Yeah, I believe you.” I say, “Well, bet on a knockout, and I can guarantee I’ma knock Ortiz out. And if I don’t knock him out, whatever you bet, I will give it back to you.”
50: So, now, you get everything you can get, and you put in on the fight.
Floyd: “50, whatever you bet, I’ll give it back to you.”

So you’re using your money to protect and build up everyone that’s a part of The Money Team?
Floyd: The Money Team is large.
50: It’s networking, but already having people that have influence. They’re strong enough to make things happen with their relationships. Put it like this: If you had—

It’s like you’re the Illuminati of—
50: See, when you put “Illuminati” around it, you make it negative. You just fucked it up. [Laughs]

Okay, take that word away.
50: It just turned into some shit.

It’s, like, a group of friends and business associates.
Floyd: Al Haymon is one of the major hitters. Listen, we got everybody. We got every race, every religion.
50: I communicate with Al Haymon, and I’m not a fighter. He has entertainers, he has resources, and he has different things because of Floyd’s relationship. Al Haymon is a big example of how this relationship happens, because Floyd is an important piece to Al Haymon. 50 Cent isn’t very important.
Floyd: Yes, you are. Nah, you’re very important. ’Cause you do what Al started—how he started off .
50: He’s aware of my business, and he’s knowledgeable in it, but he operating now with Floyd as a business partner. Put it like this: Floyd is his primary person. He has other fighters, and they got other stuff going on.
Floyd: But Al Haymon is a little different.

So The Money Team enables channels for its members to have business relationships and other relationships with other people who they wouldn’t otherwise be able to get together with—if you didn’t introduce each other through these avenues—right?
50: Exactly.