Rap-A-Lot's J. Prince issued restraining order


NEW YORK -- A temporary restraining order, requested by recording executive Ronnie Bookman, was issued against James Prince, aka J. Prince, following allegations that Prince arranged for Bookman to be beaten over a dispute involving Houston's hip-hop industry.

In finding that "imminent and irreparable injury will result in the absence of injunctive relief," presiding judge Patricia Hancock ordered Prince to avoid coming within 500 feet of Bookman's home or place of business.

According to a lawsuit filed April 12, Bookman alleges his beating was an attempt by Prince and his Rap-A-Lot 2K Records to bump off Bookman's growing record label. Bookman claims he was attacked by a half-dozen men Jan. 25, at a recreation center owned by Prince, after he was invited there as part of an effort to clear up the issues between them. As a result, Bookman suffered severe head trauma, a broken nose and injuries to both eyes and is still receiving treatment.

The lawsuit further states the dispute arose when Prince and Rap-A-Lot agreed to allow their artist Bernard "Bun B" Freeman to record on a song on one of Bookman's artists' albums. The feature was made in exchange for discounted/free studio time at Bookman's Studio 7303. Soon after Bun B recorded his CD, "Trill," at the studio, which was released in late 2005 in conjunction with Warner Brothers' Asylum Records. But when Warner Brothers approached Bookman with a label deal similar to the one WB already had with Rap-A-Lot, Prince allegedly reneged on his promise to release the Bun B feature.

"We believe that Mr. Prince feared that his influence and financial well-being would suffer if Mr. Bookman and 7303 Records were successful," said John Thomas, lead counsel for Bookman.

A Harris County, Texas Court hearing is scheduled for April 23.