‘The Art & Science of Respect’: Houston rap legend J. Prince releases book

Anyone connected to Houston’s rap scene knows his name. He’s the behind-the-scenes man-of-few-words music mogul who has proven himself to be a giant in hip-hop culture. Now, Rap-A-Lot founder J. Prince is sharing how he rose to success with a new memoir.

Prince has partnered with Jasmine D. Waters,known for her writing on NBC’s This Is Us,” to pen “The Art & Science of Respect: A Memoir.” The book chronicles his success, celebrity stories, and sage advice honed through years of representing public figures. Prince reveals personal stories and shares his own principles that kept him on top in hip-hop and help keep him relevant until this day.

Prince, who makes no secret that he built his empire in the streets, gives insight on how respect helped in moving into a legal pursuit of money. It’s a dream he’s had since childhood, growing up in Houston’s Fifth Ward, surrounded by poverty.

“I wanted to change my family’s life,” Prince said during a recent television interview. “It was important because all of my life we lived in the projects and I would hear my mom wish for a home. My inspiration came from watching her and my grandmother wish for a better life. So around 8 or 9, I vowed that I was going to be the one to break the poverty curse on my family,” Prince said.

At 19 he started Rap-A-Lot Records and became widely known as the driving force behind icons like Floyd Mayweather, the Geto Boys, Drake and others.

His bookalso adds more details on his other ventures: boxing promoter and a landowner anddetails his meteoric rise to fame as one of the first and most lucrative independent record executives to amass a string of hits on the Billboard charts as well as millions in profit along the way.

It reveals a gripping life story and account of running a cultural movement while being targeted by DEA agents, police officers, and politicians, with one disgruntled agent even attempting to take his life. The book serves as Prince’s testimony to the challenges of surviving the inner city, the lack of hope that derives from living there, and the life rules he believes create success and garner respect.

Prince, who has worked to promote the culture and art of hip-hop, is now working to promote underprivileged neighborhoods and communities. He has been praised for reaching back and giving others a chance to work in the business, particularly those who had been jailed.

“Once I got in a position of power, I reached out to others who had been to prison and I told them you can’t straddle the fence. If you’re willing to change your life, I will extend an invitation and opportunity to do just that,” Prince said.

He details in the book how he urged Tupac and Biggie to squash their rap-beef, and recently, Prince made news for doing the same with Drake and Pusha T.

“It begins with giving respect. I come from 114-year-old great-grandmother who emphasized the importance of respect and I learned and carried it with me and business and personal level and I was able to live off those same standards that she left me with and they apply today,” he said.

Houston Mayor Bill White and the City Council honored Prince for more than 20 years of commitment and dedication to the city. He was also honored alongside fellow industry heavyweights Master P, Jermaine Dupri, Timbaland and Slick Rick at the VH1 7th annual Hip Hop Honors Awards for his creative contributions and philanthropic ventures.

Drake penned the book’s foreword and he and Prince also narrated the audiobook version of the memoir. All versions of the book are available atAmazon.com.