Legendary Artists: Prince

Introduction By @TrueGodImmortal
-I still don't think it's real. I woke up on April 21st, and as I checked my phone, I felt like a hoax was formulating. I had watched social media kill off so many people who were still alive that I really didn't believe it. Plus, the person they were attempting to kill off can't die in my mind anyways. Prince Rogers Nelson is immortal. So, this still hasn't set in yet for me. I don't think it's possible. I don't want to believe it. I spent all day trying to figure out "what now", like I lost a family member or someone I'm really close with personally. I couldn't process this honestly. I was listening to his music the other day before he passed away and thinking to myself, "man, there will never be another artist like Prince". And there won't be. Almost 40 years of music, 39 official albums (according to Wikipedia, but there's miscellaneous projects to go off of anyways), and one of the most diverse yet consistent catalogs in history. Prince was daring. He was all about pushing the limits. He was all about being himself, no matter how he was perceived. He was one of a kind. For me, as a young True, I didn't understand his image. I didn't understand his wardrobe. It didn't register with me, BUT I respected him regardless. It was his music, his sound, his charisma that made me respect him, even when I didn't understand him. And in that, I began to understand him anyway. He was not to be understood completely, he was an enigma, he was a true artist, a fighter for freedom and expression. That's why I'll miss him like I know him. As an artist, he was one of my top three influences and inspirations. He was on my Mt. Rushmore of music when we did the article months ago. There was Marvin, Michael, and Prince. My three biggest influences. And now all three are gone. I still haven't processed this.

Musically, the first song I heard of his was "I Wanna Be Your Lover". It was the smooth sound and the bounce of the production that somehow captivated me beyond measure and I was enthralled with his music. The hook was so catchy and it inspired me to sing along every time. I was a child at the time, so I only knew the singles and Purple Rain. I would hear "Darling Nikki", "Computer Blue", "When Doves Cry", and of course the title track, and I got hooked. There were three albums that I listened to a lot as a child: What's Going On, Bad, and Purple Rain. My mother kept all three in rotation frequently. I remember as a child, there were songs I would just let play and I didn't have an appreciation for them like I should have perhaps. One song that fit that description was "The Beautiful Ones". As I got older and revisited Purple Rain, I gained a newfound appreciation for this song. I would be alone riding somewhere or just in the house with it playing and mimic the performance of this song from the movie. Now, I know, True doing this sounds a bit hilarious, but Prince's music is special. It's different. There's nothing quite like it. Nothing that compares to it. The breakdown on "The Beautiful Ones" is one of my favorite things in music ever. It's the passion and the almost anger in his voice that drives it home. It's instantly something that captures my attention. However, while Purple Rain was a childhood favorite, my favorite Prince album is an entirely different choice.

Sign "O" The Times was released in 1987 and though I wouldn't fully hear this album until many years later, I knew it held one of the greatest songs I had ever heard. Outside of classics like "If I Was Your Girlfriend", the title track, "U Got The Look", and a personal favorite "Slow Love", this album features the classic song "Adore". Most people don't know this, but "Adore" is literally one of my favorite songs of all time. There's many songs that I truly love and I have a long list of classic songs, but there is none quite like "Adore". This is where I fell in love with the sound of a horn accompaniment. The horns to kick off the song along with the sound of Prince and his adlibs starts it off on the right note. The lyrics? Amazing. The hook keeps it so simple yet pure, it's one of the best hooks I've ever heard honestly.

"Until the end of time, I'll be there for you/
You own my heart and mind, I truly adore you/
If God one day struck me blind, your beauty I'd still see/
Love is too weak to define, just what you mean to me/"

That song is pure gold. Magic. Literally, if I'm having a shitty day, and I need a go to song, somehow that one always works. All of my influences and inspirations have a go to song and for Prince, this is the one. It usually alters the day for me, and is a feel good song in some ways. I played it multiple times yesterday, hoping to recapture the joy I usually feel. And I couldn't. I sung along to it and every time it got worse to me. Music means more than anything to me, outside of my daughter and my mother, it's always been the one constant in my life. I identify with artists and Prince has been one of my three go to artists for my whole life. It was tough knowing that I'll never get to see him perform live. He came to perform in Baltimore and I wanted to go see him, but couldn't. I figured when he did his next tour, I'll get tickets in advance. And unfortunately, there won't be a next tour.

I played more of Purple Rain, I played "The Most Beautiful Girl In the World", I played the Musicology album (including my favorite track "Call My Name", an underrated Prince classic), I played Graffiti Bridge, Around The World, Art Official Age, and even 3121. I couldn't play all his albums (only can play what's saved on my playlists), but I listened to his music and though it didn't ease the sadness of him no longer being on this earth, his legacy never dies. Legends never die. The music lives on. They are immortalized. Today, we honor Prince for his contributions to music and the world period.

Prince. The name holds so much weight, so much meaning and epitomizes brilliance. I’m at a loss for words on how to describe someone who had such an immense impact on the world. The news is still so fresh and the loss is devastating. April 21, 2016 will forever mark the day we lost a legend, a revolutionist, and an icon.

With about 35-39 studio albums and a combined 20+ others including live albums, compilation and various other ones, Prince was unmatched in the industry. There isn’t anyone who lived, breathed, and epitomized the essence of music quite like him. At the age of 7, he was writing music on the piano and would later learn the guitar. Thus began the 38 year reign he would have as a legendary icon in the industry. He revolutionized music by fusing instruments, varying beats, sounds, and genres together to create something of his own. He created something that would become his signature for the remainder of his life.

1984 would be the year he would be ranked alongside his own (and greatest) influences such as Hendrix and Santana. It was this year that Prince released “Purple Rain” which would take the world by storm. This album had unmatched commercial success, and the movie (of the same name) was no different. It would earn him an Academy Award, a Grammy, the World Soundtrack Award and several others. There is not enough to say about this masterpiece, as it was the album that proved to penetrate all genres, every generation and every person with an ear for music. Prince truly captivated hearts and minds. He maintained this momentum with his music in every single release after that one, as his songs would become instant classics further cementing him as a worldwide legend. It wasn’t just music that was Prince’s forte, he had his talents permeate into movie directing, producing, writing, and he was truly a man with a thousand talents. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten his impact on fashion. He epitomized eccentricity and embraced his androgynous appeal. Prince was THE ONLY man who could wear a tight fitted, bright purple velvet pant-suit, a neck scarf to match, his hair with half a foot of volume AND a face full of makeup to an awards show and still show up on “best dressed” lists the very next day and rarely have his sexuality questioned. It helped that each and every one of his romantic interests were considered the most beautiful in the world at the time.

There is never enough words, never enough space and not enough understanding to truly capture genius to this degree. DAR did an article on the “Mount Rushmore" talking the all time greatest artists and since the day I submitted my list, I regretted not having Prince on it. The first song that I heard of his was “Little Red Corvette” and instantaneously I loved his voice, the beat and the energy. It was captivating and although I didn’t understand the words or meaning something about them resonated. I was lucky enough to grow up with Prince as a huge influence and was even luckier to see him evolve and maintain relevancy from decade to decade. This is the mark of a true artist and brilliant mind. The ability to stay true to your passion and to the love of your craft while evolving, maturing and growing at the same time. April 21, 2016... the world was and will be at a sheer and utter loss. The legacy will forever live and continue to influence generations to come but knowing someone of this magnitude was taken from the industry is a void that will never be filled. Prince, you are loved, you are missed and your contribution to the world is much appreciated. Rest In Peace. always.

April 21, 2016. We lost an artist that the term legend almost seems to be not enough to describe him. Prince died in his recording studio in Minnesota and the entire world felt it. Prince was a musician and artist with an almost inhuman amount of talent, an ability to play pretty much any instrument that existed. At 25, I'm obviously not old enough to have been around for what would be considered Prince's prime musically, but his impact was felt all the same. As a kid, I remember hearing pieces of his songs like ''Little Red Corvette'' or ''Purple Rain'', never the whole song, but just snippets here and there, though they always stuck with me, no matter what. I would have that piece of the song memorized and I would always find myself humming it, not knowing then the breadth of musical talent I was missing. Over time, I heard more and more songs in full culminating in my purchasing the ''Purple Rain'' album. It was then that I had my ''Arsenio Moment'', that Chappelle's Show moment when you come upon something so good, that you're legitimately mad that no one put you on to it before. ''Baby I'm A Star'' remains one of my favorite songs ever as it is the ULTIMATE ''I'm that dude but you're sleeping on me'' track. And speaking of Chappelle's Show, Prince's mythological persona seemed to take on a new life with the legendary Charlie Murphy True Hollywood story about him. A story that centered around Prince's basketball skills, manner of dress and penchant for serving pancakes after an ass whooping. This skit highlighted one of the greatest things about Prince: He was above all else, himself. And in this, he forged an aura, a persona all his own where the most ridiculous things sounded entirely plausible because... he's Prince. From riding on a man's back to get to the stage to jam with James Brown and Michael Jackson to stealing the show away from other legendary guitarists while ripping a solo on ''While My Guitar Gently Weeps'' Prince was Prince. He was staunchly for artists rights and staunchly against downloading music so much so that he was the only artist to truly successfully keep his music off of YouTube. He wanted to do things the right way, his way and more than anything, he was about his music. He was never afraid to do something different and it showed right up to his last album ''HITnRUN Phase One''. Throughout an illustrious career, Prince did what most people dream of, he became myth, he became legend. His music and his impact will be felt forever and we are all better for having experienced his genius. R.I.P.

What, you thought I was joking when I said "oh, I can talk about Prince and MJ until the cows come home?" Never that. I want to take a different approach than my SpeedontheBeat.com piece. I want to talk a bit about the generational legacy Prince crafted in his 38-year career. From dropping what some consider to be the standard for music biopics in Purple Rain to being immortalized in a classic Chappelle's Show skit (it apparently has a shitload of truth to it) to performing a pro-bono concert in Baltimore during the unrest resulting from the death of Freddie Gray, Prince's influence is felt throughout.

No, for real. Go listen to your Weeknds, your Trey Songz, your R. Kellys, your Lenny Kravitzes, your...damn near any artist who blended genres and was wild and free. You owe it to give Prince his just due. On top of, obviously, influencing a buttload of artists, you've got to give him props for his combating the music industry. While some of his tactics, such as removing streaming rights from almost every site, I didn't fully agree with, I understood why. As an artist, I like streaming, but financially, you do get kind of screwed from it. Additionally, Prince and his DIY approach over the years is something that's got to be admired. He got tired of the label bullshit and, instead of just bitching about it in his music, he said "fuck that" and dropped things his way. You've gotta love that.

Rest in Power and Glory, Prince.

Outro By @TrueGodImmortal
-There aren't many artists in the world like Prince. He's one of a kind. He's always been legendary. His aura is that of amazing greatness, his music is timeless, and his creativity is unmatched. He not only had the quality, but the quantity as well. Almost 40 albums in an almost 40 year career with tons of classics and music that tests the limits. One of my personal favorite moments is when he did the Batman soundtrack. That album was fun and "Scandalous" is literally one of his strongest songs IMO. Prince has so many gems that it's impossible to sum up his greatness in an article like this. He deserves weeks of articles and deeper looks into his music. And you can bet DAR will do that as well. Stay tuned. RIP to one of the greatest.

Let's Go Crazy....



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