With his posthumous first album, Prince pierces the American condition – .

With his posthumous first album, Prince pierces the American condition – .

New York (AFP)

Prince’s estate will soon release a full disc of the legendary musical vault of the mercurial artist, the first unreleased album released since the musician’s sudden death five years ago.

“Welcome 2 America” ​​- a 12-track album completed in 2010, but put aside for unknown reasons in the famous vault at Prince’s Paisley Park near Minneapolis – offers a prophetic window into the struggles social avant-garde today, steeped in racism, divisive politics, technology and disinformation.

Blending urgent lyricism and languid funk, shapeshifter pop Prince sings America as “the land of the free / the homeland of the slave.”

The artist, who died at 57 on April 21, 2016 from an accidental fentanyl overdose, could not have known that in the years following his death his beloved hometown would explode in fury and protest the murder by George Floyd’s police, a black man. .

But Prince was a career activist, advocating for black empowerment in the recording industry and beyond.

“You go to school just to learn / about what never was,” sings Prince on the closing track “One Day We Will All B Free”.

“But if your story is only burning / you better resist it.” “

The album, released July 30, sees Prince Level “a laser assault on America’s condition,” said Morris Hayes, Prince’s longtime keyboardist and music director.

“What’s going on with social media, social justice and social conscience… it’s a concerted effort to really talk about these things,” said Hayes, who co-produced the album.

“I really dug how raw it was, and as far as my production goes, I just wanted to keep him where he was raw and I didn’t get in the way of what he’s trying to say. “

– “Freedom and justice” –

For Hayes, the singular artist “was ahead”, like a “sage sitting somewhere in the Himalayas”, foreshadowing the present moment.

# photo1 “He wanted, I believe, a country that truly stands up for what he said he stands for: freedom and justice for all,” Hayes told AFP in an interview. “And we painfully know that’s not the case. “

For Prince, a key element of freedom was property, according to Hayes: “If you don’t own your own things, you have no freedom.”

The artist was well known for lashing out at labels, scribbling “slave” on his cheek and changing his name to an unpronounceable “symbol of love” in the 1990s to protest Warner’s attempt to curb his music production. prolific.

Hayes said Prince – who didn’t carry a cell phone and remember necessary phone numbers – also discussed freedom in terms of technology and devices, which he saw “as something that cuffs people. “.

But while the album tackles some decidedly important topics – “Running Game (Son of a Slave Master)” focuses on racism, while “Same Page, Different Book” addresses religious conflicts – the album also includes tracks of dancing and carnal vintage slow jams Prince in the mix.

“Hot Summer” is a major-tonal track, loaded with guitar and feel, while the sparsely arranged “When She Comes” featuring the artist’s falsetto is reminiscent of the hypersexual prince “Dirty Mind” of ‘in the old days.

– Excavation of the vault –

Countless numbers of songs – over 8,000, by Princian lore – have been stored in the vault beneath Paisley Park, though some of its contents have been moved to the air-conditioned Los Angeles Iron storage facility. Mountain.

# photo2 ″ It was crazy, ”Hayes says of the safe. “All this music, like everywhere on the floor, all stacked up to the ceiling. “

“You have to think about how prolific a cat has to be to have their own safe full of stuff. And I mean LOTS of stuff. “

Hayes recalled that in the mid-1990s, Prince told him he had taken time off for the first time.

“He said, ‘Never in my career have I taken a week without writing a song and picking up my guitar. “”

The release of Prince’s vast treasure trove of music remains a sensitive subject; the superstar controlled his work, his image and his carefully constructed enigmatic character. Doing what he wants is no small challenge.

Previously, the estate reissued extended versions of Prince’s landmark albums, such as “1999” and “Sign O ‘The Times”, as well as demos of songs he wrote that eventually became the hits of other artists. .


Prince was never clear on his intentions for his incredible work, but he had taken steps to preserve his tapes, films, scripts and music as well as his Paisley Park complex as the head of his estate – headed by his sister and his five half-siblings – to believe he wanted it to be shared.

Asked by Rolling Stone in 2014 about what he wanted to happen to his work after he left, Prince himself was typically nebulous.

“I don’t think of ‘gone’.


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