Toure takes an in-depth look into Prince’s music in his book, I Would Die 4 U. He matches Prince’s lyrics to many of his songs to actual events that were happening in the musical genius’ life. Prince had a work ethic like no other and could easily work up to forty hours straight until he had achieved the right sound and effects. Some said that he could not be separated from his music, and it ruled him.
He would hear a sound and he knew that he had to get it down before it vanished, which some artists may understand. He played all the instruments on a piece and then merged them together to create his own music. He studied many of the great musicians and composers from Mozart to Coltrane and it has been said that he came up with his own genre.
Prince felt driven and called by God to accomplish things and he felt that time was ticking through the hourglass, so he had a lot to get done before making his exit. His androgynous appearance, his petiteness and his boldness in mixing both male and female clothing put everyone on notice. It has been said that he could outshoot the guys on the basketball court while wearing high heels.
Prince was wrapped in a cover that pulled in the generation X–ers because they too were latchkey kids like Prince and had often been left alone for too many hours to delve into adult worlds. He baited in his audiences with outrageous sexual antics but underneath the façade, he was deeply spiritual. He strongly felt that he was here on borrowed time and felt that his main mission was to spread the Word and evangelize the masses.
Toure discusses how he started his concerts with hot, sensual movements and then once he had the audience’s full attention, he slowed the tempo down and started giving subtle sermons. We recall lyrics such as, “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life,” or he encouraged with lines like, “A feeling of self-worth will caress U.” He took risks and combined sexuality with spirituality and reminded his listeners that, “It’s always darkest before dawn.” He told one interviewer, “The whole point of the show was, I’m going to do the dirty half of me in the first half because that’s what you came to hear but in the second half, I’m gonna show you what it’s really supposed to be about.”
Prince was keenly aware of his mortality and saw the afterlife as a world of never-ending happiness. Similar to many artists, his childhood was racked with pain but like the oyster’s agitations, the gods were creating a special pearl. Prince was gifted to the world in a small package, but he could sing both male and female parts in his lyrics, play all the instruments and most of all, he fascinated us all with his brilliance and mystique!
December 31, 2022
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