(4:50) J. Prince explained getting in the music industry in the mid-1980s. Notably, his iconic label’s name came from the stage of James’ brother, Sir Rap-A-Lot “I actually named the company after him. He would rap all the time, 24 hours a day. I didn’t want to see my brother in the streets. I said, ‘You rap, I’ll support you.'” Notably, Sir Rap-A-Lot would be a founding member of the Geto Boys’ lineup. He would be in the group alongside Bushwick Bill in the pre-Making Trouble lineup. Bill (and DJ Ready Red) would stay in the group during its late ’80s transformation, when would-be stars Scarface (as “Akshen”) and Willie D would join the collective.
(8:00) The discussion about the Geto Boys weaves into a bigger conversation. The group had members from Texas, New York, New Jersey, and eventually, Louisiana. “I wanted the group to be a representation of ghettos all over the world. I knew ghettos all over the world to relate to a group called the Geto Boys,” said Prince. “We spoke the language of the ghetto.” Notably, the group would thrive through grassroots promotion and word of mouth for much of the 1980s. Bun B asks Prince about the resistance to the independent southern group with dialect in their verses. “It was very hard. Nobody would embrace that kind of music at the time. I remember going to New York and the Geto Boys performed a song. They booed us. We actually got booed. Of course Willie D didn’t take that well. I recall him wanting to fight the whole venue at the time . I know we was outnumbered, but we was together—and we stood like men.”
13:00 mark, Prince explains how the Scarface-produced single changed things for the now-trio. “They would never embrace us, as far as where radio was concerned. kicked in doors around the world, state-by-state.” The Geto Boys’ next five albums all charted at #26 or better, with several scoring gold and platinum certification. “It was undeniable. It was one of those situations where y’all don’t want to give us our respect, we’re gonna take it.” Bun B recalls the The Sourcemagazine subsequently putting the group on its cover, a first for Texas Hip-Hop.
(18:00) Along with 2 Live Crew’s Luke Skyywalker, J. Prince would be a pioneering executive in the South. In time, he would mentor No Limit’s Master P, Suave House’s Tony Draper, and Birdman and Slim of Cash Money. “All of ’em were my students, and I’m proud of all of ’em, ’cause they’re all relevant today,” explains Prince. At times, the Rap-A-Lot artist would sign talent that had previously been attached to these labels, including Juvenile, Tela, and Turk.
(31:00) Today, Jas Prince is someone closely associated with the discovery and subsequent success of Drake. After there was a very public financial dispute over monies owed, which involved J. Prince, the mogul (and Bun) explain just how integral Jas is to Drake’s career. It started in the late 2000s, on a Lil Wayne tour. A conversation between J. and his son urged the younger Prince to make use of his time on the road. The father offered to stake $1 million in a label partnership between Wayne and Jas. Upon Wayne’s alleged interest, Jas brought an artist named Drake to the table. J. Prince recalls, “I wanted to hear Drake. He played me Drake, and Drake was singin’. I was used to that rough edge. I said, ‘Jas, you like this?’ ‘Cause I wasn’t feelin’ it. Jas said, ‘Daddy, this is the new sound. This is the new movement. Trust me.'” Adding the Wayne was also not particularly impressed by what he heard at the time, Prince recalls being off-put by an MC/singer being from Canada. “He said, ‘he buzzin’ in Canada.'” However, another word caught the H-Town exec’s attention. “When he said ‘buzz,’ my ears stood up like a German Shepherd.'” Wayne would subsequently bring Drake into the YMCMB fold. It was around that same time an extremely persistent Jas Prince pressed on “Uncle” Bun B to record a feature for the song that would become “Uptown.”
(39:00) Bun B asks J. Prince about his sports ventures. The promoter and manager who has at times maintained ties to Roy Jones, Jr. and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. initially created the boxing arm of his company to state a point to law enforcement. “I was under attack by the FEDS and different people. They thought I was one-dimensional.” Prince said he legitimized himself as a prominent community member and a businessman by appearing on HBO during high-profile fights. “They looked up and I was right there in the ring with Floyd Mayweather.”
(46:00) In response, J. Prince who has parted ways with much of his 2000s roster in the 2010s praised the Port Arthur, Texas MC. “A lot of artists I worked with, I didn’t like. It was just business; I really didn’t like ’em. was one…I love this man right here.”
At 57:00, the floor opens to audience question-and-answer. After several artist-advice driven questions, one audience member from Houston asks Prince about his rumored ties to the earliest days of Death Row Records. Although Prince recently expressed public criticism of Suge Knight, the two men and their rosters worked together extensively throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. “Okay, let’s start with Death Row because Death Row…a friend of mine at the time, Michael Harris, was the foundation from which Death Row was .” Michael Harris is often known as “Harry-O.” Prince explains, “After Rap-A-Lot took off, he called me. He was in the federal penitentiary.” Harris was serving a felony conviction of cocaine trafficking and attempted murder at the time. “He asked me, ‘I hear you’re moving ; this is happening. .’ I said to him, at that time, ‘Do you know Dr. Dre? Dr. Dre is a genius. Connect with Dr. Dre.’ However he done it, whether it was through Suge or , that came to fruition. They went and got Dr. Dre. So I didn’t put any money or nothing like that into Death Row, but I influenced to make moves to bring that together.”