24 Hour Grind

Don't Sleep: SRC Marketing Head James Cruz Lays Down the Law For Keeping A Competitive Edge

Posted on May 12, 2008 10:00 AM

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Brooklyn native James Cruz got his start as an intern at Mercury Records over a decade ago and has since become one of the most influential executives in entertainment and marketing today. Cruz served as National Promotions Director at Bad Boy Entertainment before spending a 7 year tenure at Violator Management, where he was instrumental in the careers of 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes, Sean "Diddy" Combs and Missy Elliott. Cruz was also responsible for the launch of Violator Marketing Group, where he helped secure endorsement deals for 50 Cent with Pontiac, Vitamin Water and Reebok; Missy Elliot with Adidas; and Busta Rhymes with Mountain Dew and Courvoisier. He currently oversees brand management, marketing execution and content creation for SRC's corporate clients and SRC/Universal Records artists including Akon and Tami Chynn. In addition to serving as head of marketing at SRC, Cruz is CEO of his own Cruz Control Entertainment (CCE) which has an exclusive consulting deal with Monami Entertainment (Busta Rhymes, Missy Elliott, Brit & Alex) and Unique Auto Sports.

No Sleeping Allowed
That comes from Puff. We have a tremendous work schedule and it’s a very competitive business, whether it be marketing, branding or the music business. I take that from Puff because he had Bad Boy rules when we were on 19th street years ago when Bad Boy started. The number one rule was no sleeping allowed, because as you’re resting, someone else is gaining ground. That was something that always stayed with me. We partied every night and then were in the office at 10 am. If you weren’t, you had your pay docked. Puff wasn’t playin that shit.

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Greatest Moments In Cruz History:
The day Puffy gave me the best advice of my career. Puffy sat me down in his office, I was leaving Bad Boy and was trying to make up my mind where I was gonna go, it was either gonna be Epic or RCA. He called me into his office and said ‘What are you going to do, what’s your decision? I hate to see you go but let me help you make the right decision for you.’ I said I have an RCA deal -- a lot of money and a signing bonus and Epic deal -- a lotta money and a signing bonus, and I had the Violator Management thing. It was the least amount of money with no bonus. Puff looked me in the eye and he said ‘Are you kidding me James? Are you really thinking about your future? You know marketing, you know promotions, you know retail, you know all these things about the music business, if you go learn management, nothing will ever stop you. That’s going to be the greatest thing you can do.’ He picks up the phone and calls Chris Lighty and says ‘Yo take care of my guy.’ That was special.

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  • Dontex Dacari says...
  • yeah sleep is the cousin of death like Nas said...gotta stay on that grind and if anybody knows that its Diddy...

  • May 11, 2008 10:59 PM
  • Jinx says...
  • Great article. Starting out in the field of brand mgmt. myself, so this serves as inspiration.

  • May 12, 2008 2:00 PM
  • Topp Dawg says...
  • Is this the dude paying you to talk about that Eminem sounding dude, Roth. Or is it Gaby...or Ice Shuler....maybe it's Steve Rifkind himself...Lol. You can't be serious

  • May 12, 2008 3:42 PM
  • THA MISSES says...

  • May 12, 2008 8:05 PM
  • CJ says...
  • Puffy never gets the credit, but if you look at his career almost everyone associated with him prospered. Those who left, mainly artist, never have been as big as when they were with Puff.

  • May 13, 2008 4:37 PM
  • JaWar says...
  • Thank you for sharing this brief, but important interview. It's always good to hear real life stories of people that have come up in the ranks to create their own realities.

  • May 13, 2008 10:36 PM

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