Anyone who's ever met Prince Rogers Nelson (a.k.a. Prince f.k.a. The Artist f.k.a. The Artist Formerly Known As Prince) has an anecdote. The long-reigning monarch of music has railed against the Internet and been the inspiration for countless Internet memes. But if you go searching, the truth is, so far, most of what we know about him is a culmination of decades of secondhand storytelling and conjecture.
With the recent announcement of his memoir, The Beautiful Ones, the Grammy winner made it clear he's ready to change all that. The book (coming in Fall 2017) will aim to chronicle his entire life from "first memory ... all the way up to the Super Bowl," Prince said. (Yes, you have permission to hug yourself with unbridled joy over this news.)
While I'll cherish every letter on every page because PRINCE, there are a few stories in particular I hope to finally get his side of:
Why The Black Album was a demonic device
So the rumor goes that Prince decided to pull The Black Album from release right before it was scheduled to hit shelves, in late 1987/early 1988, because he had a bad ecstasy trip and decided it was an evil portent he'd be unleashing upon the world. (There was even a "Don't buy The Black Album, I'm sorry" message encrypted in his "Alphabet St." video.)
He eventually released it in limited edition in 1994, but there has been speculation it was only because he wanted it to count toward fulfilling his contractual obligations with his label, Warner Bros. Records. Yikes.
His Finding Nemo jab at Questlove
One of the long-lingering Prince mysteries is why he gave Roots drummer/producer/frontman Questlove so much guff after a tour stop in Philadelphia. As the the Fallon band member remembers it, he had to call in a favor for an extra ticket to Prince's show and somehow wound up throwing him an impromptu after-party, with his DJ services thrown in to boot. Only, Prince didn't seem to like his playlist selection (Fela Kuti) so he made Quest play Finding Nemo for the crowd instead (because he could).
A few years later, Questlove went to a party at Prince's house, and guess what the DJ was playing then? CRUEL. Did he do that on purpose, or was it just some cosmic coincidence?
His philosophy on time (and, really, everything)
In a profile for Notorious Magazine (H/T Vulture), Prince said that the reason he appears so ageless is that, in his mind, he is. "I don't believe in time," he told the mag. "I don't count. When you count, it ages you." You just know the man's existentialism is in a class all its own, so please, teach us everything you know, P.
That time he told Mazarati to "Kiss" their song good-bye
One of Prince's most popular songs ever was a track he supposedly wrote for one of his protégé groups, Mazarati. But when they delivered it back with some new funk, he decided it was actually a better fit for his own collection -- and snatched it back. If you're wondering "Who's Mazarati?" right now, well, exactly.
Or that hime he transformed an NBA star's house into his own purple palace
If you've got a reasonable landlord, most tenants will find they're given a little leeway in the redesign department, but Prince reportedly went overboard making himself at home in NBA star Carlos Boozer's house. Prince, a notoriously huge basketball fan (who himself is said to be decent on the court), reportedly overhauled the place to peak Prince-ness, including a new gate with his symbol on it and purple water in the fountains. The "Adore" singer even turned the master bedroom into a hair salon – the works.
Though the matter was apparently resolved with a million-dollar check, outrageous stories like this just make me even more curious about the mindset of the Purple One.
Knock, knock – not a joke
Prince officially converted to the Jehovah's Witness faith in 2001; soon after he began going door-to-door with other members of the church. Yes. I really need some intel on how this unfolded, whether anyone recognized him, and if he still does this, among other things.
The song, from 1984's Purple Rain album, tells the story of a "sex fiend" who changed his life with her "grind" skills. It also inadvertently spawned the parental advisory age of music. Tipper Gore -- married to then-Senator Al Gore -- bought the album for her pre-teen daughter, and when the record got to this song, she couldn't believe her ears. Claiming she wouldn't have purchased the LP for her kid if she'd known it was so graphic, she took her ire and made a federal case out of it.
While other songs (Van Halen's "Hot for Teacher" and Mötley Crüe's "Looks That Kill," in particular) also made their way onto Tipper's naughty list, it was "Nikki" that first set things into motion. What I want to know from Prince is (a) who inspired the song? (b) how he felt about it at the time, and (c) how he feels about it now. MUST.