Beats, rhymes and life are three of the corners where hip hop intersects. Few other TV shows have been able to cover all of these angles in-depth and authentically quite like REVOLT TV’s “Drink Champs,” which thrives on its candid conversations with the biggest and most influential figures in the game. In honor of such a one-of-a-kind show, REVOLT will be recapping each weekly “Drink Champs” episode, so you can always catch the gems that are dropped in each lit interview.
On the latest episode of “Drink Champs,” N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN welcome legendary rap mogul J. Prince. A native of Houston, Prince founded Rap-A-Lot Records in the ‘80s, which rose to prominence off the strength of various incarnations of the label’s flagship group Geto Boys before settling on the final lineup of Scarface, Willie D and Bushwick Bill. While Rap-A-Lot became the standard bearer for independent rap labels, and Geto Boys and Scarface’s popularity exploded, Prince played the shadows, as he was content with having his name reach further than his likeness.
To help give fans a recap of the episode, REVOLT compiled a list of nine things we learned from the J. Prince “Drink Champs” episode. Take a look at them below.
1. On Owning A Car Lot Before Rap
Prior to launching Rap-A-Lot Records, Prince owned his own car dealership in Houston. “Actually, I always had a passion for cars,” he shares. “I used to have model cars. I couldn’t afford ‘em as a kid, but my cousin had ‘em. So, every car I dreamed of, I ended up purchasing. You know how you look at them shits on your dresser and whatnot and you envision yourself, ‘Oh, I wanna be in that car’? So that passion led me to opening a car lot ‘cause I was connected in the street and all of the athletes, all of the hustlers and whatnot. That was a way of making money.”
2. On Forming The Geto Boys
Back in the ‘80s, years before “Making The Band” was a concept, Prince was forming supergroups comprised of untapped talent of his own like Scarface, Willie D, and Bushwick Bill and packaging them as the Geto Boys. After the original lineup of the group disbanded, Prince recruited the trio individually and the rest is history. “The original three, they couldn’t relate to me...” Prince laughs. “I told ‘em they had to go, they ain’t really worth talking about ‘cause they couldn’t stand the test of time. But, what I had done was, I had went on every side of Houston and I felt like I got the three hardest.
3. His Involvement In Megan Thee Stallion’s Label Situation
Earlier this year, Prince found himself the subject of headlines after being accused of attempting to intimidate Megan Thee Stallion, who is embroiled in a legal battle against her former label, 1501 Certified Entertainment. When asked about his involvement in the situation, Prince says he was simply assisting a friend in need. “Crawford is from Fifth Ward, he’s from my hood,” he explains. “So, moves was taken place to come in and kind of scoop Megan away from the homie — you know how it go. In the music industry, a lot of the majors will wait on independents to build a situation up and they come in and ‘save the day.’ They call it ‘saving the day,’ but I couldn’t have that on my watch. The homie came to me and he explained what was taking place and like a big homie should do, I stood up for him. We were able to change things around.”
4. On Suge Knight, Irv Gotti and Himself Being Targeted By The FBI
At one point, during the early 2000s, Prince and fellow rap moguls Suge Knight and Irv Gotti were in talks to forego the major label system and start their own distribution company, a move many believe would’ve shaken up the industry. While those plans ultimately fell to the wayside, Prince believes that legal barriers placed in front of each CEO involved in the deal was the result of larger forces at hand. “We had a meeting,” Prince says. “We wanted to create our own Black-owned distribution company. So, we had a meeting of the minds, met in L.A., and it wasn’t long after, I feel like the Feds attacked each of us. Conspiracy, not only from a distribution point of view, they had their reasons. But, definitely, we all saw what happened to Death Row. We saw how they attacked Murder Inc., and they tried to kill me. So, that was one of them things.”
5. His Thoughts On A Drake Verzuz Battle
In one portion of his conversation, Prince shares his thoughts on who would outlast Drake in a Verzuz battle. “Well, let me say this about Drake. I think he’s one of the best I ever heard...” Prince offers. “When it comes to hits, I ain’t seen a motherfucker do hits like him, nobody. I mean, he’s on some different shit... he’s on a whole different frequency... So, who would be considered the best outside of Drake? I mean, Lil Wayne, if he would like it...They’re on the same team. Whoever put in front of him, he gonna hold his own.”
6. On His Introduction To JAY-Z
According to many, JAY-Z is usually the one to leave the impression of what constitutes a boss in his interactions. However, Prince recalls an experience in which his reach proved to be a bit farther than Hov’s. “I’ll tell y’all an interesting story, I don’t think Jay will mind,” the Rap-A-Lot founder begins. “JAY-Z and them, they were signed with Priority... So, JAY and them wanted a song with Scarface, right? And they convinced somebody from Priority to go directly to Scarface without communicating with me. I mean, that’s not the proper way, you know what I mean? So, the guy, when he got into the airport in Houston, I got calls that he was in the airport, right? I mean, imagine that, I wanna know shit when you land ‘cause it’s that deep. So, a long story short, he pursued his situation and he was in the Ritz-Carlton, from what I hear, and it didn’t go well for him because he didn’t do shit [right], protocol wise, and that’s all I wanna say about that shit. So, when we’re done, we meant indirectly without meeting. And then we met, if you feel me (laughs)? Sometimes you gotta leave it like that.”
7. On His Last Interaction With The Notorious B.I.G.
When speaking on his involvement in the beef between the east and west coasts as a southerner, Prince speaks on warning The Notorious B.I.G. and Puff about the impending danger in Los Angeles prior to Biggie’s death. “It was actually before he died,” he says of his last interaction with the rap icon. “It wasn’t the night, it was actually probably a week or two [before]. I’m traveling on a tour bus and I heard he was there, Big [and] Puff. I considered them family. So, when I heard that, I said, ‘Okay, that’s not a good idea for him to be in the lion’s den,’ ...So, I wanted to personally let him know. So, I went to Puff, I had a conversation with Puff, ‘Hey, man, this not [right]. And it looked vulnerable to me even at the video shoot. I left Puff and went on the bus with B.I.G. B.I.G. getting high, doing his thing and I planted that seed with him, ‘Man, go home. This shit ain’t set up right,’ and I left. And shortly after, when that happened. I got a call from the investigators almost assuming as if I had something to do with it because I put the individuals on notice. So, therefore, that let me know somebody had a conversation with them to say, ‘Oh, he warned us of this.’ And that was out of love, I had nothing in my heart vindictive for the homie.”
8. On DJ Screw Being Extorted
As the godfather of Houston rap, J. Prince has rubbed shoulders with various H-Town legends, one of them being the late DJ Screw, who pioneered the “chopped and screwed” sub-genre. The mogul reveals an interesting tidbit about his initial introduction to him. “Screw was a real intelligent, unique guy, even in the midst of lean,” Prince remembers. “I had an opportunity to meet that brother. I have to tell this story. I ain’t ever told this story in no interview, but when I met DJ Screw, DJ Screw was being extorted by an artist that was connected with me. And I didn’t know nothing about the extortion, but I was the one supposed to be extorting him. He was paying an artist a monthly... So, after me and him had an opportunity to get together in my office, I’m looking at this stare, right, and he’s sitting looking and he’s like, ‘Man, you ain’t nothing like they say you are.’ So, I’m like, ‘What you mean?’ and he broke that shit down to me. He like, ‘Have you been getting your money?’ and I don’t know about the shit. A lot of shit go on that I don’t know nothing about that I get charged with. So, I ended up falling in love with Screw. But, I just had to say that shit.”
9. His Thoughts On “Checking In”
In recent years, the conversation around entertainers “checking in” with respected street figures whenever they come to a city has caused a ton of debate, some of which was spurred by 6ix9ine’s run-in with his son, Jas Prince, and his crew in Houston in 2018. During his sit-down with N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN, the elder statesman shares his thoughts on the topic. “That’s up to the individual,” he says. “I don’t try to impose. When I was in my 20s, I had a different state of mind than I have right now. I mean, that shit happens. It’s an asset to come in and have relationships with individuals in the city that you’re coming into and anybody that don’t understand that is a fool. And if you’re a fool, sometimes bad news beats you home, you know what I mean? But, I don’t require that shit, it’s up to [them].”