Rap-A-Lot founder and CEO James Prince helped bring about one of Hip-Hop’s most vital record labels, home to Geto Boys, Scarface and several other Down South acts. Prince sat down with veteran rapper and growing media personality Bun B for a candid chat on the label’s founding and more this past weekend at SXSW.
As reported by Page Six, Prince held the chat with Bun B last Friday as the festival’s third music keystone speaker. Now at age 50, Prince can dispense the wisdom of a sage as he’s seen it all from his early days in Houston until now. What was striking is that Prince began the label to give back to his hometown, which was ravaged by crime and drugs like many other major cities across the nation.
Page Six reports:
“I didn’t want to see my brother in the streets,” he recounted. “So I let him know, ‘You rap, I’m going to support you in rapping.’ Later on, a couple of other guys were skipping school, and so I said, ‘You all go to school, and I’ll support you in rapping as well.’ One day my grandmother called. The guys going to school were hanging out on her porch. So one day I get a call, ‘James, these guy are doing what you asked. You need to keep your word.’”
But in addition to helping out his community, Prince also wanted to prove that just because the South was far away from the center of the rap world — New York City, at the time — didn’t mean it wasn’t worthy of respect.
But as is frequently the case, just wanting something wasn’t enough. It was up to Prince to support his artists, to give them the confidence that they could do this regardless of how rough things looked.
The conversation was recorded and will appear on the SXSW website at a later date.
Photo: Twitter/screen cap/Mara Jackson