Thursday, 10 April 2014

My Funky (In)Disposition Make Believe MashUP Series [No.02]

With his first album having been released in 1978, Prince has consistently released music spanning five decades, with albums like ‘Purple Rain’, ‘Sign O the Times’ and ‘Dirty Mind’ establishing him in the 1980s as the long-running rival to Michael Jackson’s pop throne.

Unimaginative reviews/reviewers relegate Prince’s greatness to solely the 1980s but to do so discredits songs like ‘I Hate U’, ‘Future Soul Song’ and ‘Pretty Man’, or full-lengths like ‘3121’, ‘Exodus’ or the three-disc opus that was ‘LOtUSFLOW3R’.  BUT, maybe there is something to the fact that perhaps Prince hasn’t ingratiated himself to subsequent contemporary climates (leaving aside his oft-derided foray into hip-hop in the 1990s).  Prince is definitely no stranger to collaboration but anyone who appears on his albums ultimately sings what he tells them to sing.

Produced, arranged, composed and performed by Prince

…It’s been the infamous tagline that’s graced practically every Prince album that’s ever released and left aspiring artists with a helluva lot to live up to, but it’s that element of control he’s never relinquished, and if he was ever to do, who better than…The Neptunes.

Since the late-1990s, disciples of Prince’s blend of funk, rock and soul, Chad Hugo and Pharrell Williams revolutionized hip-hop and R&B with an inimitable fusion of genres that made believers of us all.  They introduced us to the hot screaming chick with the crazy hair, they made N*Sync and Britney Spears ‘cool’ to urban audiences, they proved they were just as comfortable with hip-hop acts like Jay-Z, LL Cool J, Common and Clipse as they were with No Doubt and Daft Punk.  Their left-of-centre projects like N*E*R*D and Kenna further demonstrated their limitless versatility all the way to today where Pharrell’s mind-blowing success with ‘Blurred Lines’, ‘Get Lucky’ and newly-released album ‘ G I R L’, spearheaded by the infectious hit ‘Happy’, continually solidifies the team’s status as mega mastermind producers.

Could it happen?

In short… No.  As already mentioned, it’s a level of control and collaboration Prince doesn’t indulge in.  Apart from frequent horn collaborators including Maceo Parker, Greg Boyer, Candy Dulfer, etc., even musical duties on his studio releases are monopolized by Prince – a fact that stretches all the way back to 1978 and his debut album ‘For You’ with Prince having played all 27 instruments on the album, so unfortunately, I’d say this is a closed book.

Prince and The Neptunes are as natural a fit as they come – and as much of a dream collaboration as I could ever hope for – and the magic the three of them could create will have me salivating for many years to come.

All isn’t completely lost though so for Exhibit A, let’s relish in The Neptunes Remix of Prince’s ‘The Greatest Romance Ever Sold’:

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