Music icon James Prince, better known as J. Prince, took a trip to Grambling’s campus to educate students on how to “turn nothing into something” and to share the “ingredients” inside his autobiography, The Art and Science of Respect.
J. Prince is the founder and CEO of Houston-based Rap-A-Lot Records, and has worked to promote Houston’s rap scene for over 22 years. Some talents he has worked alongside of are Cash Money, Master P and Scarface.
While growing up in the 5th Ward in Houston, Prince faced many challenges from going to school to walking to the store. What drove his decision to transition from his street life was a sign given to him by God. After a prayer in the closet in his room, he decided he would walk away from his addiction to the streets and begin working in corporate America.
He had always been interested in music because of his family’s love for Motown music, but he dug deeper into rap because of his brother, Sir-Rap-a-Lot, whom his record company is named after. Prince met with people from the music industry, and his career took off from then. He decided to write his book to put his life on display as living proof that is possible to “come up from nothing”.
“My goal with this book is to fertilize the mind of big dreams with little resources,” Prince said. “ I think all of us have a sleeping giant within us, and I’m trying to awaken that sleeping giant by motivating and inspiring by the things I’ve done, along with leaving a real blueprint on how to do it,”
After reminiscing on all of his wins and losses in life to write his book, Prince said he has now gained a new respect for himself. He said going back to places which he had put on the back-burner because of pain took a lot out of him. He decided to reveal his story for a bigger purpose so that it would be a part of his legacy.
Prince has also had the opportunity to work in the boxing industry, which is his first love. He managed what is considered the sport’s top talent, Floyd Mayweather, Jr., and Andre Ward. He became a manager for both fighters while they were amateurs. Prince officially became Mayweather’s manager by striking a deal with the boxer in Las Vegas, while he met Ward two years before he won an Olympic gold metal.
Prince says dealing with music artists and athletes is different lifestyle-wise, but there are many similarities from the business perspective.
“Fighters have to be clean…You can’t do weed, can’t be drinking, or stay up all night… It’ll show up in the ring,” Prince said.
Prince said rappers get away with bad habits, but fighters must be disciplined. Prince has always had a love for boxing. He vowed if he became financially successful, he would give back to his community via his favorite sport.
“I actually built a boxing gym and recreation center in the hood – 5th ward – because I always wanted access to a boxing gym as a kid and there wasn’t one,” Prince said.
He now works with underprivileged communities in Houston by hosting elderly programs, turkey giveaways, and donating Christmas toys.
Advice that Prince gave to his audience was to continually read and to not be just a dreamer, but to have a plan.
Prince said it’s great to have goals, but you also need to know the who, what, when, where, why, and how for your plans.