Prince is having another moment. Actually, to be real about it, the Minnesota music deity has had several moments throughout his illustrious, unpredictable three-decade career. But this year Prince seems to be once again swinging for the fences. Following this past Sunday’s album listening event in New York to pub up his latest band 3rd Eye Girl—an event that was attended by everyone from NASCAR icon Jeff Gordon to rising talk-show queen Wendy Williams—Prince has been a busy man.
The iconic artist, who is set to headline this year’s 20th Anniversary Essence Fest (July 3-6), has just dropped the first official single to his upcoming album Plectrum Electrum, the guitar rock throwdown “PRETZELBODYLOGIC.” He made a rib-tickling appearance on Zoey Deschanel’s New Girl on Sunday, and is, sometime today, set to announce details on a world tour. As we wait to hear the run down and new album, VIBE presents five reasons it’s good to be a Prince fan in 2014. Game, blouses.—Keith Murphy (@murphdogg29)
5. His Royal Badness Is Loosening Up
The Purple One has long shown a left-field sense of humor throughout his career. Indeed, Prince displayed the funny most recently with his show-stealing post-Super Bowl guest spot on the cutesy FOX sitcom New Girl, which was loaded with hilarious myth-making irreverence. Of course Prince commands butterflies, teleports, and makes pancakes. It was so surreal that we were waiting to witness him fly off on a winged Pegasus. And yet the man who made his debut late last year on Twitter in a very Princely fashion—the image of the smoke selfie was perfect on so many levels—still doesn’t seem like the type of guy you could grab a beer with. But Prince unleashed his human side during the 3rd Eye Girl listening session. Yep that was Mr. Nelson himself, immaculate Afro, too-cool-for-school shades, pimp cane and rock-star fringe vest inside the DJ booth with rap immortal Doug E. Fresh dancing to EU’s “Da Butt” and Naughty By Nature’s “O.P.P.” Who knew?
4. Prince Is Still His Genre-Hopping Self
Musically, Prince in 2014 is working with house money. But he’s still giving fans a plethora of sounds to choose from. If you like the volume turned up to 11, check out his latest single “PRETZELBODYLOGIC,” complete with crunchy, body-punching guitars and trippy lyrics (“Taste the bittersweet undone/Now we both too sleepy to get the gun…”). If you like some nasty swing injected into your rock be on the look out for “Funk N Roll,” one of the new tracks featured on Prince/3rd Eye Girl’s upcoming album due out this year. Or maybe you just want to dance your ass off. In that case, Prince should do the club dwellers a favor and drop the infectious “Do You Wanna Fall In Love Tonight,” a Camille-flavored, synth and horns workout that has “hit” written all over it. And then there’s the Prince-goes-to-the-trap weirdness of the sparse remix to “Funk N Roll.” Yep, someone has been listening to the radio. There’s plenty of rumbling 808, party-people chants and an Outkast-meets-Janelle-Monaé-meets-controversy-era-Prince, fuzzy rock freak-out that turns the whole damn thing on its head.
3. Prince Doesn’t Need An AARP Card
Right now, the 55-year-old Prince is supposed to be relaxing into his golden years at Cracker Barrel eating split pea soup. But dude ain’t about that life. Instead he still releases music and performs like his life depends on it 30 plus years into his show-stopping career. He’s set to tour again (more on that later) and he continues to record with the obsession of a fledgling garage act trying to score a record deal. So what else does an artist who has sold over 100 million records, won an Oscar, and influenced a generation of musicians to wave their freak flag have to prove? Not much. But don’t tell Prince that.
2. His Band Of Becky’s Kick Ass
The truth is, Prince was featuring female musicians in his band before it became worthy of a press release. Now following the impressive likes of Wendy & Lisa, Sheila E, Rhonda Smith, and Cassandra O’Neal is 3rd Eye Girl. Prince’s bouncy trio of chick players—Hannah Ford (drums), Ida Nielsen (bass) Donna Grantis (guitar)—are no mere gimmick. As evident by concert footage played during Sunday’s formal introduction to the 3rd Eye Girl members, those in attendance were impressed with the trio’s raw yet dynamic musicianship. They play loud and without much regard for human life. In the immortal words of the man himself, not bad for a girl.
1. Prince Is Touring Again…Rejoice!
There are few things more dependable than Prince live onstage. Even disgruntled followers who believe his recent studio output is not on the groundbreaking level of his prime genius years will testify to this. And so the same Prince who last year made the South by Southwest Music Festival his proverbial bitch, led his 3rd Eye Girl clique through a critically-acclaimed mini-tour and flaunted his guitar god credentials, and knocked out a now legendary August marathon gig at New York’s City Winery will be kicking off his next Hit & Run trek in the UK. In typical Prince fashion he is expected to announce more details about the tour sometime today in the living room of English folk-soul singer Lianne La Havas’ flat (that’s British speak for apartment, folks). Really, Prince, the next time you want to announce something the VIBE offices are open homie.