Money, Power, Respect: Catching Up With the Multitalented J. Prince
Respect is earned, not given.
Not many people have earned the respect of others more than Houston’s, J. Prince. The CEO of Rap-A-Lot Records served as a breakthrough launching pad for several top Southern rappers.
Prince’s numerous honors and awards reflect his work both in the community and as an executive.
Prince is a music mogul but is also one of boxing’s most prominent managers. His book, ‘The Art & Science of Respect,’ made him a best-selling author, and his new liquor line, ‘The Loyalty Collection,’ adds another layer to his multi-dimensional talents. Moving in silence while letting his actions speak louder than his words has been a successful formula for Prince.
During my recent conversation with Prince, he reflects on his rise to his role as a CEO, talks about his star pupil boxer, Shakur Stevenson and hints at the actor he would like to portray him in a potential biopic!
Zenger: Thanks for the time, OG. You have checked off many boxes, music mogul, boxing manager, best-selling author, and now you are entering the liquor industry with ‘The Loyalty Collection.’ From where did you draw that entrepreneurial mentality?
J. Prince: Man, I think my mentality originated from wanting to break that poverty curse in my family, you know what I mean? That was the socket that I put my plug into. … That’s where my drive comes from.
I wanted to break that poverty curse as far as my family was concerned. I wanted to get my mother a home. I witnessed so much pain and suffering and different things like that as far as poverty was concerned with the people I love until it was just on me real heavy to do something about it.
Zenger: From the outside looking in, it seems like everything you touch turns to gold. Why is that? What is it about J. Prince, that, once you put your imprint on it, it reaches a certain level of success?
J. Prince: Well, a lot of people may view it that way, but that’s not the reality of it.
A lot of people want your glory, but they don’t know your story. And my story consists of a lot of wins, a lot of losses and different things like that.
I don’t think anybody that exercises their entrepreneurship just wins at everything they do. I want people to know that. Some of the losses are what motivated me the most.
Even in the music industry. I failed album after album that I put out for seven years before I saw a profit. It was the tenacity of not quitting; you know what I mean? And the consistency of just continuing to swing at ’em that made all the difference. And that’s what I want people to know, like my man, Larry Hoover, told me, “Whatever you do, don’t stop swinging at ’em.”
Zenger: I can tell there was a lot of thought put into the look of ‘The Loyalty Collection.’ The bottle alone grabs your eye, adds your stamp of approval, and I’m sure it’s a great product. Tell us a little bit about it.
J. Prince: Yeah … ‘The Loyalty Collection’ consists of champagne, Rose, Cabernet and Merlot. It’s a real good quality of everything. I didn’t want to put my name on something that wasn’t quality.
And even more important, the meaning of the name and what it means, special moments when people are celebrating something, and you’re drinking a name that means something. You’re drinking a name that, if anybody is celebrating any kind of victory, it can’t exist without loyalty being in the loop.
So, as a remembrance and as a toast, during the holidays, Christmas, moving forward, celebrations, anniversaries, whatever it may be, I’m hoping that we would include ‘Loyalty’ in the mix.
Zenger: Where can we find ‘The Loyalty Collection’ and more information about it?
J. Prince: Go to my Instagram. I got a link on my Instagram as well as Loyalty Wine Collection Instagram has a link. https://wineinsiders.com/promotion/loyalty-wine-collection, And very soon, around the 20-21st of this month, we’re going to be in stores near you.
Zenger: I know loyalty goes a long way with you as it should. Speaking of loyalty, there is a guy in particular to whom you are extremely loyal. … I have bumped into you in Houston, in Vegas, and you always have this guy with you. He’s in a wheelchair, I think my man, Cory Spinks, said they call him, ‘Stay Down,’ but he’s always at your side.
J. Prince: Yeah, ‘Stay Down’ is a good brother. I’ve known him since back in the high school days. He’s one of those people that if you cut the word loyalty wide open, you’ll see his name in it (laughing).
Zenger: In 2018, you released ‘The Art & Science of Respect.’ What made that year and that time of your life the right time to publish your first book and become an author because you are a relatively private guy?
J. Prince: It was all the years that went on before that year. It was the accomplishments, everything that I had done, the wins the losses, and everything that happened in between; It all led up to that particular year.
There’s a time and a place for everything in life, and it fell right between that time and place. I had to execute my pen and let it speak for me. I wanted to leave that with the youth and everybody that wanna win because it’s important to not take things with you. I don’t want to be one of those people that kept all the wisdom, knowledge and understanding to myself and not try to inspire and motivate my fellow man.
Zenger: Every time I have met you, you have been very approachable and talkative. After reading the book, it gave me an idea of why you are so down to earth. Did your humble beginnings mold you into the person you are today? Who is a guy that didn’t forget his start?
J. Prince: Oh yeah, definitely!
My foundation and humble beginnings are definitely in the DNA of my foundation. I ain’t ever going to forget that. You know, I’m one of the individuals … I’m just not going to forget where I came from because that’s who I am.
And I don’t even respect people that forget where they came from; That’s important. Imagine us living in a world and living a life where everybody didn’t forget where they came from and contributed to the community in some aspect. A lot of what we’re dealing with today, we wouldn’t be dealing with it.
Zenger: I love your line about, ‘If you campaign long enough, eventually you will get elected,’ when discussing some of the recent violence we have witnessed in the rap music industry.
They say there are not enough OGs out here to offer guidance. People like yourself are few and far between nowadays. Do you think there is a shortage of OGs offering guidance, and that’s why we see some of these guys who are well on their way to stardom being taken out at a young age?
J. Prince: Some of ’em running around without guidance, and some of them don’t want guidance, and then you have some who are willing to listen. See a fool, and his money will soon part ways. They will separate themselves real soon.
A lot of times, these different fools with money, a lot of people hold their tongue, and they can be bought, they can be paid for. They won’t give them that real and uncut truth the way they need it. I keep saying, “Get you an OG over IG.” There’s an exit to every entry, so I definitely believe that the source of wisdom exists somewhere. It’s just a matter of a person wanting it and going to embrace it.
Zenger: Anytime you walk into any room in the world, you are highly respected and almost off-limits, untouchable, so to speak. Yet, you don’t carry yourself that way. Does that discipline come from your OG’s teachings to where you understood usually the loudest person in the room is the weakest?
J. Prince: It definitely came from my parents, who taught me the word respect. Therefore, when I entered the world and entered a lot of different places, I was already taught how to respect people. And I was taught the value of respecting people, and I was taught the value of demanding my respect.
So, I think a lot of things begin at home. What’s put in us before we ever reach any of those rooms, whether it be the classroom, board room or any other room. As a parent, it’s like our responsibility to lay that foundation where our kids are concerned and where that word respect is concerned.
Zenger: You light up when someone mentions your fighter, Shakur Stevenson. What was it about Shakur as an amateur, and what is it about him as a pro that made you not only gravitate toward his talents but truly light up when he’s mentioned to you?
J. Prince: He’s special.
The word special symbolizes Shakur. He has all the ingredients that I witnessed in Floyd Mayweather. I tell everybody, he’s Floyd Mayweather on steroids. It hasn’t come to fruition totally yet, but people will see. So, that excites me because I know who he is going to become. I’m looking past who he is right now and looking at who he is going to become.
Zenger: It seems inevitable that there will one day be a biopic on J. Prince. Your story has to be told on the big screen. Who would you want to portray J. Prince in a movie?
J. Prince: Well … up until recently, I didn’t know, but I heard not long ago that Denzel Washington’s son said he wanted to play me. Me and Denzel go way back. We have a friendship. That may be something to think about.
Zenger: You also hinted at wanting to get into movies and documentaries. Are you thinking of autobiographical documentaries and movies?
J. Prince: My first doc is definitely going to be about me. It’s going to be my bio and the life that I lived. And from there, I think it would be the perfect set up to do a movie and a future TV series moving forward.
Zenger: I have always wanted to ask you this; you seem to have a steady diet of both, but which do you prefer, respect or fear, and why?
J. Prince: I choose respect over fear. You know what I mean? Because I view respect as something of God, I view fear as something from the devil, you know what I mean? Or something from the darker side of things. I’ll say it that way. So, I’m going to choose respect over fear any day.
Zenger: It’s been an honor, brother. You have been Southern royalty for a long time, and you’re worldwide royalty now that the world has been able to see your many talents. Thank you for your time, J! I appreciate you.
J. Prince: Hey, thanks for having me, bruh.
(Story edited by Daniel Kucin Jr. and Stan Chrapowicki)