This was a celebration of Prince that was originally published on Generation Bass on 16th June 2014.
Since I last saw Prince live, twice, in my home city a few weeks ago (not for the first time but for the first time in my home city), it brought back not only floods of nostalgia but also a realization that I needed to help to turn more people onto his sounds. It astounds me, beyond belief, that are still so called music lovers out there who have never heard of Prince or simply do not realize his genius and the important contribution he has made to the history of music which has not only influenced many forms of it but which has also had a direct and huge impact upon a lot its existence today.
Prince tore up the rule book over 30 years ago and since then there’s many who have followed in his footsteps but none, even up to this very day, have been as genius, innovative or as rebellious as he was back then.
Throughout my DJ life, I have never put Prince mixes together, his music always felt far too special for me to mess with, even in a DJ capacity, but I finally found the courage to do it and it isn’t gonna stop with this mix either. There will be at least a few more after this showcasing the man in many different lights.
For this “FunkSexy” mix, I decided to explore the man’s funkier terrain and his many overlooked and underrated tracks.
So whilst you’re listening to this mix you can also read some brief info about all the tracks that appear on the mix and the albums that they come from.
Track by track synposis with immense help (In Bold) from the Prince Vault:
Taken from his 19th album in 1996, “Emancipation” is a 3 disc affair and the first album to be released following the end of his contract with Warner Bros. He released it a week after that contract came to an end.
I love the repeated pounding drum pattern heard throughout the song. That same drum pattern actually appeared first on a track called “Ain’t No Place Like U” on an album by Prince’s ex-wife Mayte and he later re-used it for this track.
2. Sexy M.F.
One of his strongest tracks in the 90’s and taken from his “Symbol” album.
This is funk personified and is also perhaps his greatest Hip Hop track and this was all over the place in the 90’s.
3. Dead on It
Taken from his infamous “Black Album” that was due to come out in 1987 but Prince shelved its release at the last minute as “he felt the album was too negative and hateful, and not the message he wanted to release. He has spoken of a “dark night of the soul” where everything came to a head, prompting his cancellation of the album (close associates have discussed that this was a result of a one-time use of the drug ecstasy by Prince and the hallucinations caused by it).”
It was eventually released as a limited edition in 1994.
When Prince made this track back in the mid 80’s, he was not really feeling Hip Hop and this was meant to be a parody/piss-take of it but for me it’s one helluva track.
One of Prince’s funkiest ever tracks, this blew the roof off when it came out and it still does.
From one of the best albums of his career Sign O’ Times, his second double album following 1999 and both stand as 2 of the best double albums of all time for me.
The track was initially placed as the second track on the album Camille (to be credited to Camille), and was planned as the b-side of the single Shockadelica (also to be credited to Camille), but the single and the album were both aborted. It was then included as the third track on the first disc on the triple-album Crystal Ball, which was eventually pared down to become Sign O’ The Times.
5. Dance On
The first of a trio of related tracks (see the next 2 below) that came from his late 80’s “Lovesexy” album. Maybe one of the better tracks on that album. This track is a kind of Apocalyptic Funk track where Prince and his band are funking their way to armageddon.
The track also features Sheila E on drums and background vocals.
The second of the trio of related tracks.
From his follow up album to the commercially successful Purple Rain album, “Around The World In A Day” is one of my fave Prince abums. On this album he explored the hazy psychedelia of the Beatles but in his own and unique way. A total departure from the commercial excesses of Purple Rain, this album was nothing like Purple Rain and disappointed a lot of people but not me, I found it amazing when it came out and I still do today.
Tambourine is the funkiest cut on that album and it always seemed kind of out of place on that album but sort of part of the spirit at the same time. It has a similar funk feel to “Dance On” which came after and so I guess you could say this is “Dance On’s” older but sexxier sister. On this track I think Prince is singing about masturbation and playing with his girlfriend’s tambourine, make of that what u want but u cannot deny the FUNK!
7. Release It
The third of the trio of related tracks.
The only time that Prince has probably been upstaged by another act, The Time. At times, they upstaged him in the Purple Rain movie and I also heard rumours that they scared him shitless on tour when they were in support.
This is a track by that band who dared to upstage him, The Time, albeit, Prince wrote it and also features on it. They kill it and blow all the other tracks on the same “Graffiti Bridge” album out of the water.
Again, it follows the same kind of funk mood as “Dance On” and “Tambourine” but it came after both of them and so I guess you could say it’s their younger, sassier sister.
The song contains an uncredited sample of “Squib Cakes” by Tower Of Power (written by Chester Thompson, from their 1974 album Back To Oakland), which was later also sampled on Sleep Around; Prince sampled a brief portion of drums from that track and looped it to create the drum backing.
Prince slipping into Public Enemy horn laden Hip Hop terrain with this track and it’s a monster party number. Taken from his early 90’s “Diamonds & Pearls” album. Rap is by Tony M.
In December, 1991, Steve Fargnoli, Prince‘s former manager, sued Prince, stating that the spoken word message about managers included at the end of Jughead was about him, and broke their non-disclosure agreement. The defamation and breach-of-contract suit demanded $5 million in damages.
9. Dig U Better Dead
“Originally intended for private use only, this compilation serves as the last original material recorded by for Warner Brothers.“
From his “Choas & Disorder” album which, as described above, was his last “official” Warner Bros album of previously “unreleased” material. Most of the album is Rock orientated and this was one of the only Funk tracks on it. I luv the vocals on this track!
Prince sings in his trademark high falsetto voice on this track taken from his last album “Come” for Warner Bro’s of “newly” recorded material.
It’s a driving Funk number with equal amounts of sexxiness.
11. New World
The second track that I’ve taken from his “Emancipation” album.
This track has Prince cautiously stepping into Techno territory but with a boundless amount of Funk energy. One of the better tracks from the album.
It was inspired by the Northridge earthquake in Los Angeles on 17 January, 1994. The track was planned as the b-side of the single The Most Beautiful Girl In The World (under its original title), but Warner Bros. did not allow to release more than one song independently, so instead recorded Beautiful, which has a similar beat and musical feel to New World. It is assumed that the song was part of the 1995 New World album project, about which very little is known.
12. Dance 4 Me
Taken from a more recent 2009 album “Lotusflower” which was his 33rd album.
More of an Electro-Funk workout, it shows that Prince still got da funk!
In December, 2011, close to three years after the album’s release, Swiss dance music label Purple Music released a new single of Dance 4 Me, containing remixes of the track by Jamie Lewis and David Alexander, as well as the remixes recorded for potential release in 2009.
Many view this album as one of his best albums of the 90’s.
One of the funkiest tracks from that album kind of follows the “Arrested Development” funk bass.
The track begins directly from the previous NPG Operator segue, which states “You have just accessed the Now Experience” and lists other tracks of a similar style, such as Housequake, Irresistible Bitch, and Sexy M.F., and ends “but that was then, this is…” with the track beginning with a cry of “Now!”; the same segue was used prior to most live performances of the track.
The second track on my mix from the “Come” album.
Taking a leaf from Sly and The Family Stone on this track with some Pop Funk, Prince speaks his thoughts about Racism.
In 1994, four months before the album’s release, the studio promotional video of Race was included in The Beautiful Experience TV movie (again credited, as was the whole project, to ). In 2001, a slightly remixed version (containing overdubbed samples, spoken by Prince, of “NPG Ahdio”), was included on NPG Ahdio Show # 5 (not available as a separate mp3 download).
One of Prince’s standout albums and also one of his most dance oriented ones and a double album to boot, 1999 was the album that warned the world that a genius was on the loose.
Every track on this album is of epic proportions and that could be said for track lengths too.
Dance Music Sex Romance is a straight-up party-funk bomb!
In 1984, an edit of the track was included as the eighth track on the movie soundtrack Risky Business and was included in the movie starring Tom Cruise. In late 1998, the full-length version was included on the re-issue of the 1999 single.
When CD technology was created and albums were released on CD, D.M.S.R. was left off the initial releases of 1999 as the time limit on CDs was 74 minutes at the time. As CD capacities increased, however, the track was added to the tracklist again.
16. Black Sweat
Another cut from one of Prince’s more recent albums, that is, if you can call 2006 recent.
The finest and def the funkiest track on this “3121” album and another underrated track!
Since the released track is a dance track rather than an acoustic track, it is possible the initial recording was re-worked later on, but information has not been verified.
Widely lauded as one of Prince’s best early albums, “Dirty Mind” demonstrated for the first time the diversity that Prince was capable of and just how lewd he could also really be.
“Head” is about oral sex and it’s the funkiest, spunkiest kind you’re ever gonna hear.
Now 2 tracks from another seminal 80’s album “Parade”.
18. New Position
I think this is one of this album’s most slept on and discarded tracks, clocking in at just under 2 and a half minutes might be one of the reasons for that. But it’s the most potent and funky 2 and half minutes you’ll ever have the pleasure of hearing about varying your sex life.
The track was re-recorded on 17 April, 1985 at Sunset Sound, Hollywood, CA, USA, with Prince recording the drum track in sequence of Wendy’s Parade, New Position, I Wonder U and Under The Cherry Moon, all in one take. He then layered other instruments over all four tracks.
19. I Wonder U
One of the first times Prince doesn’t sing lead on a track as he leaves that task to his guitarist, Wendy Melvoin. This track comes with full Orchestration and the sweetest funky guitar riff and backwards masking.
Another pretty short track from the man, this one clocks in at just under 2 minutes but once again it’s probably the most potent and fullest 2 minute tracks you’re ever gonna hear that belies it’s pretty short length. It just sounds so complete and full.
The song was sent to Clare Fischer in mid-late 1985 for his input. Fischer did two different orchestral arrangements; one with full orchestration, and after a later request of Prince, one with only ‘flute family’ orchestration, much like the finally released version. These versions had Prince‘s lead vocal mixed in loudest, mostly obscuring Wendy’s vocals. Before release Prince then omitted his own voice, so that Wendy was now singing the lead. Clare Fischer‘s full orchestration arrangement remains unreleased although Prince did use some of it as incidental music in Under The Cherry Moon.
20. Lady Cab Driver
Second track on this mix from one of my fave and most played Prince albums. There’s just something about the 1999 album that still excites just like it did the first time I ever heard it. There’s never been an album quite like this one by anybody else ever. It was probably one of my earliest forays into Dance music, having been an out and out rocker before I heard this album.
I still think it’s a vastly underrated album and should be in the top 20 albums of all time on every list everywhere. It was way ahead of its time and even today a lot of it still has not dated and retains that ageless quality.
When I first heard Lady Cab Driver, it was the the highly eroticized moaning by Jill Jones that sold me on the track on initial plays. However, the more I played it, the more I was able to appreciate just how unique and genius this track was. The moaning section faded into the background and Prince’s mastery at maintaning a tight funk riddim with the coolest vocals and that scintillating guitar break towards the end just lifted this track into altogether different dimension.
I still get the chills when I plays this track!
21. Erotic City
B-side to the single Let’s Go Crazy, this was better than the A side Purple Rain track. This is a naughty track and still is. I’m still not sure whether he is saying “F**K” or “Funk”! As a teen, this was the track you pulled out to impress your friends or Gf’s when you wanted to show them how naughty and rebellious you were. 7 minutes of the most glorious and sexy Funk ever committed to record. This track is Genius and it mirrors the artist who made it. A perennial classic!
It is possible that Sheila E. added her vocals sometime between 1-4 April, 1984, when Prince and Sheila E. worked on tracks for her album The Glamorous Life, but this is uncertain. Although credited to Prince and the Revolution, only Prince and Sheila E. contributed to the track.
Erotic City is notable as the first Prince release to contain input from Sheila E. (although her album The Glamorous Life, mostly written, performed and produced by Prince, was released six weeks earlier).