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Friday, December 8, 2023 | Back issues
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Rap War Unfolds in Houston

HOUSTON (CN) - Rap-A-Lot Records producer James Prince lured a rival to a meeting and had his associates pummel him in an effort to eliminate a competitor in the Houston rap game, pro se plaintiff Ronald Bookman claims in Harris County Court.

Bookman owns Studio 7303 in Houston and in only a few years his operation has garnered national attention, with artists such as 50 Cent, Justin Timberlake, Missy Elliot and Mike Jones recording there, according to his complaint.

Gold-selling rap artist Bun B, who has an exclusive recording agreement with Prince's Rap-A-Lot Records, agreed to appear on an album Bookman was producing, and assign all song rights to Bookman and his studio in exchange for discounted studio time, according to the complaint.

But Bookman says Prince reneged on his agreement to release song, and derailed Bookman's planned deal with Warner Brothers to develop Houston-area rap artists. Bookman says Warner Brothers would not proceed with the deal until Bookman obtained a release from Rap-A-Lot.

"Instead of providing the agreed upon clearances for Bun B's feature, Prince and Rap-A-Lot attempted to coerce (me) into giving up 50 percent interest in Studio 7303," Bookman claims.

He says Prince sent word that he wanted to "make things right," and told Bookman he would sign the release, allowing his deal to go through with Warner Brothers. He allegedly invited Bookman to a local gym to "patch up their somewhat strained relationship," Bookman says. He claims Prince led him to a meeting room at the gym, where several of his associates were waiting and when the parties' negotiations reached an impasse he grew angry and said, "Let's see how you like this!"

A door swung open and several men entered the room, Bookman claims. Some stood against a glass partition to block the view of basketball players on an adjacent court, while others assaulted him.

"When the beating was over Prince approached a dazed Bookman and said: 'Now are we done or are we going to war?'" according to the complaint.

Bookman says he suffered severe head injuries as a result of the assault.

He wants exemplary damages for breach of contract, unfair competition, conspiracy and battery.

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