Photo: Getty
  /  09.01.2022

On this week’s episode of the “Big Facts” podcast, Big Bank, DJ Scream, and Baby Jade sat down with rapper Finesse2tymes. The Tennessee artist sat for a lengthy conversation covering several topics, including his hometown of Memphis, lessons he learned from his experience with being locked up, working with J Prince Jr. and more.

Finesse2tymes, born Ricky Hampton, rose to fame in the late 2010s and is perhaps best known for his 2019 mixtape, Hustle & Flow, and tracks “Like Me,” “G Train,” and “Going Straight,” which garnered him a significant fan base. However, in December 2018, the emcee’s burgeoning career was put on hold after he was sentenced to five years in prison on federal weapons charges. With a new lease on life,  the “Get Even” rapper is looking to pick up exactly where he left off.

“I’m going to speak from the gut just so a n**ga know this s**t ain’t scripted; I knew this s**t was coming,” he said of the support he’s enjoyed since coming home. The rising star admitted he was unsure of how the public would receive him following his release but noted that as he got closer to the end of his sentencing, “S**t, [support] was actually growing — it was actually getting bigger.”

He later gave a shout out to J Prince Jr., who was also in the building, crediting the rapper for having faith and believing in him throughout his ordeal. “We didn’t really know, but I feel like he had faith, and that’s why I got a lot of respect for him — because he had faith in what was going to happen when I came home,” Finesse2tymes said. Elsewhere he added,  “The five years didn’t do s**t … I’m back. It’s up, it’s been crazy.”

The “Some Money” artist also spoke about the lessons he learned while away, revealing some of his most powerful teachings, including “discipline, structure, and respect,” which played a critical role in him surviving his sentencing. “So, discipline was one of the main things I had to learn because I had to discipline myself to know how to move around different types of guys. Different type of n**gas who ain’t in the same mind frame as I’m in,” he explained. “I got to do five years and these n**gas looking at it like, ‘N**ga, you just passing through. This where I stay. This is where I stay at. This is what I’ma do for the rest of my life. I’ll crush you and go to the SHU, [which is the] special housing unit. Do my time, get back out the SHU … and s**t, keep doing my time.’”

J Prince Jr., who’s had his own experiences with the criminal justice system, says time behind bars taught him humility. “Because I came from being on top to being at the lowest point in my life. So it’s a whole different situation when you’re used to being a boss, and now you got people that ain’t on your level bossing you around,” he explained. “And they tend to take advantage of that. When they know that you had some power, they like to flex their power then. And so, it taught me how to be more humble because I was trying to come home, ain’t trying to lose my good time.”

The “Gone” emcee said he applied those same lessons during his transition back into society. “The same lesson I was taught in there, I apply now. So, it made me better at the same time — to where I understand how not to react to situations in the streets because of when I was taught how not to react to situations inside,” he said.

Finesse2tymes encouraged fellow and aspiring rappers to: “Stay out the way.” He continued, “Take care of your business and duck off. Because them Feds ain’t gon’ play with you and a n**ga in the street that don’t got nothing ain’t gon’ play with you. Ain’t none of them gonna play with you. So if you got something going on and you’re prospering in it, and you’re wealthy, you’re making a difference for your family, for yourself, your future, mane, do the right thing — stay out the way.”

Later, J Prince Jr. opened up about navigating his career as the son of prominent figure James Smith, otherwise known as J Prince, CEO and founder of the legendary rap label Rap-A-Lot Records.

“It was just a situation where I had to make n**gas respect Jr. for Jr,” the emcee said of being viewed as his own entity. “It’s something I did, and that’s something Mob Ties thrives off of. That’s something that I always wanted,” he continued. “N**gas used to introduce me as, ‘Hey, that’s J Prince son’ and I’ll make sure I say, ‘Nah n**ga, I’m Jr.’”

The CEO acknowledged the respect that his family holds but made it clear that he doesn’t “want to be respected based upon another man.” He added, “And I respect the respect that I get from that foundation, but I want to always demand [they] respect Jr. for Jr. … So, I went out of my way to make sure I got that.”

The respect is undoubtedly mutual with Finess2tymes, whom he signed to his Mob Ties record label earlier this year. J Prince Jr. revealed what motivated him to continue pushing for Finesse2tymes’ success throughout the ups and downs of his career. The executive said his intuition led him to do business with the rising rapper. “And that’s something that God blessed me with is intuition. So, I could walk in a room full of everybody right now, and I could feel the energy is real, and I gravitate to real n**gas all across the world,” he said.

“That’s what Mob Ties is. Mob Ties is a movement of bosses together in [an] elevated structure,” he continued. “So I gravitate to the real ones all around the world, and I felt his realness. I felt he was of my kind. Somebody that I could relate to, somebody that I know they solid and stand on principles and morals. And that’s something that I really stand on [and] value. It ain’t just him, but any n**ga that stands on principles and morals and I feel that energy from, and they’re solid — I gravitate to them.”

Speaking on his situation with Finesse2tymes directly, J Prince Jr. stated, “In his circumstance, I just knew based upon our conversations that I was dealing with a solid n**ga.”

Since his release, Finesse2tymes has been working on getting back to his craft and where he was in his career before he was sent away. He’s also been trying to set an example for other artists and young fans who may be going down a similar path.

Like always, if you liked what you heard, be sure to stay tuned every week for new episodes of “Big Facts.” Also, don’t forget to watch the latest show here.

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