Houston entrepreneur James Prince, better known in the hip-hop community as J. Prince, is a mystery to many people. He is known for founding the legendary hip hop label, Rap-A-Lot Records, leaving ominous messages on various tracks throughout the history of the label and being a boxing manager to some of the brightest stars in the sport.
Regardless, every knows J. Prince as “the man” behind the scenes in the music industry, due to myriads of figures paying homage to him in various ways, but very few know how he rose to power. Some light will be shed on the life, career and come-up of J. Prince, thanks to his soon-to-be-released memoir, The Art & Science Of Respect. The book will surely feature anecdotes and gems dropped by Prince on his 30 years in the game. The book’s description states, “Whether battling the systemic cycle of poverty, record label executives, boxing promoters, or corrupt DEA agents, Prince has always emerged victorious. Respect isn’t given, it’s earned.”
However, one element of the text, concerning the late, great Notorious B.I.G., has been revealed. According to TMZ, weeks before Biggie’s tragic murder, J. Prince paid a surprise visit to Biggie and Puff Daddy in LA in February 1997. This was months after the murder of hip-hop icon Tupac Shakur. According to sources, J. Prince got wind that Bad Boy was in town shooting the video for Biggie’s classic single, “Hypnotize.” He had been in LA with legendary Rap-A-Lot artist Scarface and heard a lot of talk about folks wanting revenge for the hit on Tupac, which Biggie and Puffy were rumored to have been involved with. Their involvement was never proven, but Bad Boy was allegedly tied to the South Side Compton Crips, whose members (including shot-caller Duane “Keffe D” Davis alleged shooter Orlando “Baby Lane” Anderson), have been suspected of carrying the hit out on Pac. Puffy allegedly enlisted the Crips as security for Bad Boy. According to Keffe D, Puffy allegedly offered the gang $1 million to take out Tupac and Suge Knight as tensions rose between the Bad Boy and Death Row camps (never substantiated).
According to sources, J. Prince advised Biggie and Puff to tread lightly, based on the things he was hearing. He urged them to consider getting out of town before something popped off for real. He was concerned by how nonchalant Bad Boy’s security was. However, Biggie and Puff did not take heed to J. Prince’s words and focused on finishing the video. Weeks later, Biggie was murdered as he left a party at the Peterson Automotive Museum.
As stated before, this story is just one from J. Prince’s upcoming memoir, The Art and Science of Respect, which will be released on June 22 under N-The-Water Publishing. It is co-written by Julia Beverly (author of the biography Sweet Jones: Pimp C’s Trill Life Story) and Pilar Sander. The foreword is written by Drake, who was discovered by J. Prince’s son, Jas Prince. The book is now available for preorder here.