I’m going to talk about this more with my Team DAR fam. But, I figured I’d talk a bit about the legendary Prince over on SOTB as well. You can never have too much Prince in your life, especially since, let’s be real, the guy’s a legend and is still somewhat underrated (“underratedness” seems to be a theme today on the site).
I feel that some of Prince’s awesome, for me, comes from the fact that he and MJ tackled similar territories, but Prince was a lot more…blunt with his. And because people respect, but don’t always “want” that bluntness, people have appreciated Prince’s genius. But, it sometimes keeps listeners from giving him the in-depth listens he deserved. This isn’t a bashfest on MJ or his fans, by the way. Both artists are impeccable. However, MJ danced, quite literally, around sexuality and anger most of the time. That’s not to say he couldn’t do “sexy” or “angry,” even For instance, “Liberian Girl” is sexy as hell and songs like “Scream” and “Leave Me Alone” showed a more pissed-off side of MJ that was often hidden.
But, you get Prince doing songs like “Insatiable,” “U Got the Look,” and more. My God, man. Prince had that “Mr. Steal Your Girl” vibe when Trey Songz was still in Underoos. On the social commentary tip, Prince mixed a slew of philosophy, religious overtones, and more into his works. MJ had his moments too, and it was clear that they probably had some influence on each other. But, Prince was on a whole ‘nother level more often than not. Now, I know they weren’t rivals (at least, not exactly), but it always felt that they were competing in their tracks. For instance, MJ drops the instant classic “Scream” and then we get more Prince music, almost to say “oh, ya’ll forgot about me?! Foolish humans.” Same way with Thriller and 1999.
Personally, I first came into contact with Prince’s music around the same time I got really familiar with Michael. So, truthfully, way before I hit puberty. Like many, my first Prince track was “Purple Rain,” since, you know, as progressive as my mom was, she wanted to keep some of the more “mature” stuff for when I got older. I didn’t even hear “Gett Off” until I was a teenager. As an aside, hearing Prince rap is classic (he does it on quite a few of his tracks, if you’re wondering). But, back to “Purple.” The solo on that track was just mind-blowing and made me want more of the Minnesota legend. And while I knew it was a beautiful solo, revisiting it now, as an adult, is chilling. You feel every ounce of emotion Prince poured into the track in a way that few artists can. But, “Purple,” it also made me seek out the tracks from Michael Jackson that weren’t just from, like, Off the Wall or Thriller.
That was the wonder of Prince and MJ. For me, at least, discovering something new about one made me curious about the other. I found out Prince did over 35 albums. That led me to check out Michael Jackson’s first few CDs (ex., his Ben album and more of his J5 work aside from the “standards”). I found out that Slash played guitar on “Dirty Diana,” so I started to seek out Prince tracks with sick-ass guitar solos (and man, there are a LOT of them). And while they never collaborated, I like to think that a Prince/MJ collabo would’ve been quite possibly the greatest thing of all-time and probably would’ve ended the idea of new music for a couple years. For instance, if they really linked up on “Bad” like legend has it almost coming to fruition…I’m sure it would’ve been friggin’ epic (and considering how epic “Bad” was already, I fear hearing that collaboration out of fear that my eardrums would burst from the awesome).
Goodnight, Sweet Prince. Thank you (and MJ) for your amazing careers and beautiful music. So many artists, myself included, owe (at least) parts of our careers to you. I still wish you both would’ve worked together. Maybe next lifetime, right?