Not many could actually integrate a major book promotion and sales via the highly successful “Aubrey & The Three Amigos” tour – the title under which as massively successful recording artist Drake is currently performing. But this isn’t just any book and certainly not just any author. This is James “J” Prince, the man widely known as the driving force behind icons like Floyd Mayweather, The Geto Boys, Drake, and the founder of Rap-A-Lot Records. And his new memoir entitled The Art & Science Of Respect just may be able to teach you a thing or two about overall success, business leadership, fame and, maybe even how to be smooth and savvy enough to have major recording stars as friends and business collaborators.
In a world marked by nano-seconds, J Prince takes his time when he speaks. It marks a confidence and a worldliness that only someone with a rich enough life can convey. Indeed, in his book Prince details his meteoric rise to fame as one of the first and most lucrative independent record executives to produce hit after hit on the Billboard music charts. The Art & Science Of Repsect chronicles Prince’s endeavors running a record label that would go on to give rise to complete and controversial cultural movement, navigating encounters with DEA agents and politicians, dodging attempted assassination and much more.
Prince is currently promoting the book, speaking and selling while on tour with Drake who just happened to pen the foreword and co-narrates with Prince on the audio version of the book.
But naturally the trend of social media is also being leveraged to drive sales as well. “I’m definitely on Instagram,” Prince says, “and using it to promote the book. I love the power of it. I love to be able to push a button and reach that many people at one time.”
Indeed when asked what business and cultural trends have changed most in entrepreneurship since he began his first business decades ago, he is quick to note that it is the impact of social media. “By far social media has changed the game. Back in the day we definitely we didn’t have access to this type of machine,” Prince explains. “It may have taken us a month or better to break a certain record at a certain capacity, and now you can push a button and the world can have access to these things that took us forever to be able to do. I would have loved to have had access to the power to the power that they do today.”
While some may point to the current problems around social media, Prince takes a different view. “I’m not a person who looks at things with a negative eye. I believe in adjusting to the times,” he explains. “This is a beautiful thing and a beautiful time. It’s a positive thing for all of us. I’ve learned how to be involved and live with social media and I’m enjoying every moment of it.”
Such a philosophy could be beneficial during an era rife with controversy, upheaval, finger-pointing and divisiveness. It is also such a perspective that Prince credits his success and discusses at length in his book. “I view circumstances and situations the way that I look at the weather. Either you’re currently in a storm, or you just got out of a storm or you are about to head into one,” he explains. “When it rains you don’t get over-excited because you understand that you without the rain to make the grass grow. So I’ve trained my mind to not get over-excited about anything one way or the other about things that happen during my day. This is how best to maintain clarity and make the right decisions in business.”
Prince also advises entrepreneurs to be true to themselves but to also develop sounds plans in order to seize success. To wit, he recalls a time years ago where an aptitude test in school determined that he was suited solely to be a police office. Railing against his teacher who was a proponent of the results, he decided to set out to make his own way.
Says Prince, “I don’t believe in those different things controlling your destiny. It’s about what’s in your heart and what your plan is. The plan is everything. The work ethic and the plan. It’s one thing to dream, but it’s another thing to have a dream and a plan.” In the book, he explains that creating a simple who, what, when, how for each business question can lead to massive success.
“For every goal, I create a who, what, when, how,” Prince reveals. “This approach forces me to dig into myself to have to answer all these questions. By answering them I obtain clarity on how to accomplish that goal.”
Prince chose to write his memoir now because he says that he is asked so often about how he created an empire with few resources that he decided to place the knowledge in a book. Though some reviews have remarked about the pacing in The Art & Science Of Respect, Prince’s camp claims sales at a clip during Drake’s current sold-out tour.
As mentioned earlier, Drake supported Prince in various ways with the book as just the latest in the business history between them – a history that almost ended before it began.
“I always give my son Jas all the credit where Drake is concerned,” Prince recounts. “When he brought Drake’s demo to me, I couldn’t hear it, but he could.” The story goes that Prince’s son had been touring with the chart-topping L’il Wayne. “But he seemed to be having too much fun,” says Prince. “So I called him and told him that I didn’t want him partying too hard and coming back home broke.” The father had a better business idea for the son.
“Tell Wayne that you want to start your own label and that I’ll give you a little over a million and ask him to be your partner,” says Prince. Wayne agreed and Jas proposed Drake to his father as the first artist on the label. “ ‘You like this?’ I said when I listened to the demo. ‘He’s singing all over the place, ‘ ” recalls Prince.
He hoped his son, an adamant entrepreneur-in-the-making, would change his mind but once James found out that Drake was starting to get notice from his native market of Canada. He slowly began to reconsider. The rest of the story is now history as the artist performs to sold-out shows and captures huge endorsement deals for various consumer products.
So what’s it like being on tour with Drake?
“It’s fun,” smiles Prince. “It’s a beautiful thing to witness the sold-out shows night after night. To witness the show and the energy he performs with is great. I’m selling a lot of books. That’s exciting.”
“It’s a good time. It’s a great time in my life.”