The Artist

Typically, I’m listening to Hip Hop or some old school music. A couple weeks ago I decided to listen to Purple Rain all the way through, instead of just playing my favorite cuts from the album. I’ve done it once or twice before, but I never really took the time to digest that album. Straight up, it’s like finding a $100 bill in a pair of jeans you haven’t worn in a while. There’s a lot more to Purple Rain than I previously gave the album credit for.

Photo by Dmitry Zvolskiy

The Kid

I have no idea how old I was when I first recognized I was listening to Prince, but I know my first favorite song by Prince. Let’s Go Crazy! Because of that song, the words “Dearly beloved” are always in Prince’s voice regardless of who utters them. The intro to that song is just as powerful of a message as the rest of the album. Take Me With You is not a song I ever paid much attention to, but if you’ve ever been with a person that was just cool in an unexplainable way, you can relate. The Beautiful Ones, kinda dark, but the “Baby, Baby, Baby” and the “Do you want HIM, Do you want Me, cause I want you” lyrics alone make it a stand out. That sounds crazy, but in art, especially music, how something is said is just as powerful as what is being said.

Prince was the ONLY guy that I knew of that could wear heels, blouses, all kinds of makeup and feminine hairstyles while still maintaining genuine respect and adoration from some of the toughest street guys out there. Hell, the man basically owns the color purple artistically speaking. He could do pretty much whatever he wanted musically as well and it showed in the hits and misses that he put out over his career. When I was a kid, I didn’t care for songs like Darling Nikki or Computer Blue at all, I didn’t know what the hell he was talking about, the songs don’t have that same high energy feel like Let’s Go Crazy or I Would Die 4 U. However, as a grown man, Darling Nikki hits different. It’s actually more relatable to me than Dying 4 a woman metaphorically or literally. I’m also able to hear the subtle similarities in the music of some of the songs on the album.

One of very few regrets I have in life is not going to see his live show when I lived in Vegas. I’m not much of a concert goer, but this was Prince! He had a residency at the Rio, and to be fair, I was mostly broke back then. I couldn’t justify the cost of admission over the other obligations I had at the time like food and condoms. When the residency ended I figured I would get the opportunity to go to one of his shows at some point. It never worked out and I definitely feel as if I missed out on something special. If you have the opportunity to see any of the special artists that you appreciate, save up and do it if you are on the broke side of things, trust me.

I’m glad Prince received the flowers he deserved while he was alive. He was truly one of our legends. I’d go as far as saying musical royalty and his imprint on the arts is still felt 5 years after his passing. The Artist Forever Known As Prince, TAFKAP, Prince Rogers Nelson, The Artist or The Kid, whatever one decides to call him, the man changed a lot of things for the better. Think of how many independent artists there are now compared to his era. It’s due to technology and a lot of the things Prince said and did in his career. It’s easy to give thanks for the music, but he deserves gratitude for being an example of being secure in ones manhood, being a business pioneer and strategist, thanks for influencing generations of greats to come. Rest well.

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