I’m not one to just fall apart when famous people die and there have been many celebrity deaths over the past few years. They all seem to be so out of the blue or maybe its how we get the information at light speed now with social media. Regardless the news of Prince passing was just different it seemed to be a lot more sad. I’m a hip hop head to the core don’t get it twisted but for those in my age group Prince was just something different, something deeper.
Prince was one of the best musicians to ever live no argument can be made against that. It is true that he was very much a living channel of his musical hero’s James Brown, Jimi Hendrix & Sly Stone but he very much established his own musical legacy built on passion, emotional freedom, sex and exceptional musicianship. To a 70s baby that was raised in the 80s Prince was a teacher he was the prototype of how to woo a woman, I was always doing our best Prince impression whenever I was intimate with a woman (personal I know).
Prince and Michael Jackson were the 2 biggest stars of the 80s for me. They both felt like cool older cousins, one from my dads side of the family and one from my mothers side of the family. They both had “star quality” and there was a bit of mystery about both of them. This was way before social media and the sometimes over personal view that we get into celebrity life. There were some things that we didn’t know yet always discussed and they became legendary because of these this. Prince was the most mysterious of the 2 though because we all kind of grew up with Michael Jackson and his family, we watched Mike go through puberty, we heard Michaels voice change and drop. Prince was this cat that just came out of Minneapolis and killed it. A lot of black folks all over the U.S were like are there many black folk in Minnesota?
Prince was necessary for my generation, he was the link between his influences and our generation. It was one thing for us in hip hop to sample and revise those older songs but Prince was the most pure representation of his influences. Don’t get it twisted though he was not imitating them he was channeling and improving on those influences. The influence of Prince is undeniable in todays music of all genres.