We sit down with CEO, Author and Entrepreneur J. Prince and talk about his book, “The Art and Science of Respect”.
Zach: What’s up, y’all? It’s Zach with Living Corporate, and yes, you’re listening to a B-Side. Now, yes, we’ve introduced the purpose of a B-Side before, but every episode is someone’s first episode. So for our new folks, B-Sides are essentially random shows that we have in-between our larger shows. These are much less structured and somehow even more lit than our regularly scheduled shows. Sometimes they’re discussions that the hosts have, sometimes they’re extended monologues, or sometimes they’re a chat with a special guest, and today we have a really special guest, folks, J Prince. J Prince is the CEO of Houston-based Rap-A-Lot Records, one of Houston’s oldest rap record labels. Known as a godfather to the rap game, he has associations with some of the biggest names in hip-hop, including Drake, Lil Wayne, Scarface, Bun B and Pimp C, Tony Draper, Master P, Devin the Dude, Z-Ro, Lil’ Flip, Juvenile, and Trae Tha Truth, just to name a few. Needless to say, the man has put his work in, and he’s actually written a book chronically and reflecting on his own experiences called The Art and Science of Respect, which is out now and available for purchase everywhere fine books are sold. J Prince, welcome to the show, man. How you doin’ today?
J Prince: Ah, yeah. How you doin’, my brother?
Zach: [laughs] I’m doing good, man. So look, as you know, this is a podcast that explores the perspectives of being black and brown in Corporate America. Can you talk to me about your experiences operating as a CEO and building relationships with folks who don’t necessarily look like you?
J Prince: Oh, man. That was–where do you want me to start on that one? In the beginning, you know what I mean, making my transition from the streets to Corporate America, my experiences was not inviting, you know what I mean? And I wasn’t invited in a lot of different perspectives, you know? I remember, you know, starting off in the music game, you know, we were really discriminated against on how we dressed, you know, in different offices that I rented, you know? So they kicked us out of several because, you know, everything was new to the music game, you know? I mean, everything was new to Houston, I’ll say it that way, where the music game was concerned. And, you know, I hit a lot of roadblocks and challenges just based on how we dressed.
Zach: ‘Cause I would imagine, right, that you can’t really build a dynasty like you’ve had without expanding your circle. So, like, what hurdles? You talked about obstacles. What hurdles did you have to overcome?
J Prince: Yeah. I guess my first hurdle that, you know, a lot of that I had to overcome was hurdles to those that was closest to me, and I call ’em dream busters, you know what I mean? When a person–you share your dream with them, you share, you know, your goals with them, and they tell you you can’t do that. You can’t be this. “You ain’t gonna ever be nothin’,” you know, all of these negative things that you encounter, you know, in the hood. So those were some of the first obstacles that I had to make my mind up that I wasn’t hearing, and really, after that, you know, when I found the strength to deal with those that really meant something to me, that was closest to me, saying negative things, when I figured out how to ignore that, the rest came easy. Those were some of the challenges, you know? The closer ones to you, and then of course after you get past that test there’s many more waiting on you because, you know, it’s full of challenges when you’re playing on a million-dollar playing field, or just playing on the playing field of business any way.
Zach: Yeah. I’m curious–let’s talk about your book, The Art and Science of Respect. What was the point in which you said, “I gotta write a book,” and I ask that, J, because there are a handful of folks, right, only a handful of folks who have the same amount or just breadth of experience that you have, and I would say few folks in the air that you operate choose to really write a memoir. So what was it for you that made you pause and say, “I gotta write a book?”
J Prince: Well, you know, it was a combination of things, but, you know, as I travel, you know, around the world, and as I encounter, you know, with, you know, my people, you know, they’re always asking me when, what, where and how, you know what I mean? They wanna know how I’ve done what I’ve done. How did you turn nothing into something? How can you be from, you know, the mud and yet and still figure it all out? So, you know, I figured out the best way to really speak to the world, the past, the future, and the present, was to put it in a book, you know what I mean? And also, as you know, I’ve done audio too.
Zach: Yes, sir.
J Prince: And I narrated it, so, you know, I’m talking to ’em.
Zach: What would you say minorities in Corporate America could learn from your book? And why should they go get it today?
J Prince: I think they can learn, and they will receive a lot of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding, you know what I mean? I think they will learn a better way, you know? A sharper way. I think that book gonna open up brain cells that may have been clogged up in certain areas because they just didn’t think out of that side of the brain. So, you know, this is a book–and also, you know, even from a spiritual point of view, because I share a lot of my spirituality. I share a lot of my wins, my losses. Like, real intimate experiences that I know we all go through, you know what I mean? We all lose someone that’s close to us, and, you know, they need to know that, you know, one don’t have to throw in the towel because of, you know, things like that happen. So my story is a story that, in some capacity, the world gonna be able to relate to it.
Zach: Man. That’s amazing, man. So, you know, this has been a dope conversation. Before we let you go, do you have you any shout outs or parting words of wisdom, man, for the audience?
J Prince: Hey, man, I–you know, when I think about what I tapped into to really, like, encourage me to–you know, I felt like it was me against the world sometimes. It was–you know, breaking that poverty curse where my family was concerned, with my loved ones, my kids, my mother, you know what I mean? Every time I thought about, “I’ve got to be the one to break this poverty curse,” you know? I reached and grabbed energy out of nowhere, and I think, you know, everybody that’s listening that’s trying to accomplish anything, it’s good to tap into that power that’s greater than the power of defeat, you know what I mean? Whether you–I don’t care where you are in life. If you have that power that exists that you can tap into, “I’m doing this for this,” then that’s a power that’s gonna be stronger than defeat.
Zach: Awesome, man. Well, look, that does it for us here on the Living Corporate podcast. Thank you guys for checking us out. Make sure you follow us on Instagram @LivingCorporate, Twitter at LivingCorp_Pod, and subscribe to our newsletter through www.living-corporate.com. If you have a question you’d like for us to answer and read on the show, make sure you email us at email@example.com. This has been Zach, and you’ve been talking with J Prince. Peace.
Kiara: Living Corporate is a podcast by Living Corporate, LLC. Our logo was designed by David Dawkins. Our theme music was produced by Ken Brown. Additional music production by Antoine Franklin from Musical Elevation. Post-production is handled by Jeremy Jackson. Got a topic suggestion? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find us online on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and living-corporate.com. Thanks for listening. Stay tuned.