Retroactive Review: Purple Rain (1984)

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to peruse this critic’s adoration and subsequent fawning over of an undeniable pop music masterpiece. A subjective word; masterpiece, it means a work of outstanding artistry, skill, or workmanship, and there’s plenty of people who may disagree, but I’m here to tell you, they’re wrong. A world without such a musical milestone is no world I belong in; songs full of wonder, joy, heartbreak, and love, songs that effortlessly stir human emotions, binding us all together in a bizarre fashion you’re forced to chalk up to the beauty of a master at work. In this life, it’s as close to musical perfection as you’ll hear anywhere.

Often, reaching the zenith is an impossible task that rarely goes according to plan. 1982 was the year Prince finally broke through, but 1984 proved to be the year he ascended past stardom and became ubiquitous with mainstream culture. Following up your best and most successful work is always a difficult task, but when The Purple One became determined to craft an idiosyncratic album that would sell out stadiums, he succeeded in such a way that anything that came after had to be graded on a scale. Nevertheless, if everything he released after this was terrible, he would still be able to hang his hat on the fact he created Purple Rain. It’s one of those albums.

The globe must’ve looked like a large oyster to Prince on April 11th, 1983. He had just wrapped up The 1999 Tour, his biggest tour up to that point, 1999 had peaked at #5 on Billboard’s Top 200, “1999” and “Little Red Corvette” were red hot, tearing up the charts; where do you go from there? Following a career arc in hindsight makes everything seem obvious when you’re already aware of how they progressed, but I’m sure there were moments where a 24-year-old Prince looked across the crowd during one of his shows on his largest tour yet, and believed he had reached the top.

Ambition can be a hell of a motivator however, because as he was likely thinking that, he was also dreaming up something bigger. Only a select few musicians become household names; movie stars though? Hollywood can turn anyone into a figure, provided the film entertains a mass audience. A memorable role in a movie is still incredibly efficient in increasing ones’ image, but especially in the 80’s, as there was no streaming, no tweeting, no Snapchat, but an abundance of spending power, and the peak of word of mouth, pre-internet era technology. The sociopolitical environment of the time bestowed the faith necessary to encourage The Purple One to ask for a film based partially on his own life in his new deal. Enough good ol’ fashioned Hollywood embellishment could add enough allure to otherwise mundane everyday living, and then subsequently launch him into the stratosphere, rather than settle as just another pop star; right?

Of course the film wouldn’t do that alone, everyone knows the real star of this personal project is the music, and if anyone else had told Steve Fargnoli that they wouldn’t sign with Warner Bros unless they received a movie from their new deal they had bargained for during recordings on the previous album, I believe the WB brass would have responded with a brazen “fuck you”, but by this point Prince had essentially mastered the art of using big studio money to flesh out and perfect his projects; listen to “1999” and then “I Wanna Be Your Lover”, “1999” was tracked at The Purple House, and “I Wanna Be Your Lover” was tracked in an actual big budget studio, but can you tell based on the ear test? He wasn’t the giant of pop culture he would become following the release of this album, but Warner had good enough reason to invest a film into their virtuoso, especially since he was going to make the soundtrack. Throw him some cash, and get the fuck out the way; simple enough.

Recordings for the album began in the Summer of ’83, although “Baby I’m a Star” predates every song here, as it was originally tracked at The Purple House in late ’81, around the same time Prince was departing for The Controversy Tour. Five of the nine tracks were recorded in one night, on August 3rd, 1983, at First Avenue nightclub in Minneapolis, the primary club in the film. “Let’s Go Crazy”, “Computer Blue”, “I Would Die 4 U”, “Baby I’m a Star”, and “Purple Rain”, were all recorded during the one-off show. “Let’s Go Crazy” was re-worked into a studio version just four days later at The Warehouse in St. Louis Park, Minneapolis; also featured in the film1. A day later, “Computer Blue” was also tracked in this same location. “Darling Nikki”, the track that caught the ire of Tipper Gore and caused multiple politicians to raise their brows in disgust, spearheading a collaboration that resulted in the formation of the parental advisory warning, was the first song recorded, tracked in mid-July 1983, at Prince’s Purple House.

Pre-production began on September 15th, after months of script re-writes, band and dance rehearsals, and replacing the departing Vanity with Apollonia as the leading lady, as well as the lead vocalist of Vanity 6; renamed Apollonia 6. Every film has troubled production, it’s the nature of the business after all, but Prince’s comfort must’ve never been compromised, because even as the pressure mounted, he continued to deliver; tracking “The Beautiful Ones” at Sunset Sounds Studio 3 on September 20th, 1983, just five days after Albert Magnoli was announced as the director. Shooting took only seven weeks, completing work in 39 days.

Once filming was wrapped on December 16th, 1983, Prince went back to work on the album, tracking “Take Me with U” on January 27th, 1984 at Sunset Sounds Studio 3, and his huge hit, “When Doves Cry”, on March 1st, 1984. Both songs had considerable work done on them in the ensuing days, with Apollonia adding her vocals to “Take Me with U”, the next day. The subsequent four days after initial tracking on “When Doves Cry” would see Prince tinker with the mixing and engineering, and the last song recorded for the album would go on to be released as the first single in mid-May of that year, a mere five weeks before the release of the film.

Different configurations of Purple Rain floated around at various times; one where John L. Rogers’s composition credit for “Computer Blue” was a separate track titled “Father’s Song”, and one later where both “Let’s Go Crazy” and “Computer Blue” were extended to their full seven and 14 minute versions, respectively. An earlier configuration included the song “Wednesday”, but that song has inexplicably disappeared into the annals of the vault. Once “Take Me with U”, and more importantly, “When Doves Cry”, were recorded, the aforementioned songs were trimmed down to accommodate the two new tracks. Nearly every track was mixed, overdubbed, or edited in some fashion during late March of 1984, with a heavy bulk of the work being done on March 22nd. Fortifying the album’s track list during the film’s post-production phase proved that patience is a virtue, ensuring himself a well-crafted structure at a commercially digestible pace. A steady diet always trims fat.

Normally, the first or second paragraph of my reviews is dedicated to the commercial performance of these records, but quite honestly, it’s irrelevant when it comes to an album of this magnitude. I once saw an interview with Dr. Dre where he said,

If it’s dope, the money will come.

Released on June 25th, 1984, the album went platinum in two months. In January 1985, the album had gone 9 times platinum, and in May 1996, three years before the certification number was lessened to 10 million, the album was certified diamond; the only diamond certification Prince received in his lifetime. “When Doves Cry” was his first number one hit, “Let’s Go Crazy”, released two months after the previous single and a month after the album; a week before the film, also hit number one on the charts. Countless publications rank Purple Rain incredibly high in numerous best-of-the-80’s lists, and it was Prince’s first chart topping album, maintaining its number one position on Billboard’s Top 200 for 24 consecutive weeks, once again entering the charts and peaking at #2 in 2016 once Prince passed away. As I previously stated, it’s one of those albums.

An oft-repeated legend around this time details how, while on tour, Prince inquired Dr. Fink on how Bruce Springsteen managed to sell out stadiums; gathering himself a rather large audience. Fink, the ever reliable keyboardist, confessed it was simply due to the type of music he was playing, and if The Purple One wished to gain a large crowd similar to Springsteen, then all he had to do was go in a more mainstream rock approach2. The story paints Prince in a slightly disingenuous light, but as always with a Gemini, let’s look at the situation from another viewpoint.

Very much a child of the 60’s, the decade of flower children, it also allowed the musician to soak in a wide array of pop artists during his formative years, but while these artists were simultaneously at, or near, their peak. James Brown, Duke Ellington, Chuck Berry, Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder, just to name a few. Growing up under a jazz pianist father, Prince undoubtedly studied these musicians and used their music as a guiding factor in his moral compass, but growing up in a predominantly white area like the Twin Cities meant he also was subjected to artists like The Beatles, David Bowie, Elvis Presley, and Jerry Lee Lewis. Radio stations used to play what the masses wanted, and in 1970, when Prince was 12 years old, Minneapolis was approximately 94% white, so rock was the default genre.

Aging with the optimistic hippies, whose psychedelic influences were also felt in the jazz and blues tunes of the time, into a young black man of the soulful 70’s, gave Prince a surplus of influences that pioneered pop music, all in a relatively malleable stage of his life. Absorbing their lessons, he studied and practiced his craft, and displayed his natural talents as a singer/showman to all those who became enamored with his inscrutable personality.

So is it really any wonder then, how he managed to fuse his already innovative Minneapolis Sound with more, traditional, rock elements? Anyone who’s been paying attention already heard him shredding on “I’m Yours”, from For You or on “I Wanna Be Your Lover”, from his eponymous LP. Unless your focus was elsewhere, he already gave you backbeat-driven, funk-pop on Dirty Mind; still managing to squeeze in a bluesy solo on “Gotta Broken Heart Again” from that same album.

Roping off a genre to certain demographic has always been a toxic train of thought. Prince understood this, that’s why The Revolution, finally given co-billing on an album3, was a multi-racial, multi-gendered band; it’s why Prince had no problem fusing genres throughout his career. It’s really why this sound was the natural step forward for him, given the circumstances.

Glam rock was popular, that stereotypical tight, bright, excessive 80’s clothing was the shit, hip hop was still a few years away from mainstream relevance, greed was good, and people were playing air guitar nationwide. Mixing a penchant for witty sexual dialogue, funky-soul-pop sensibilities, and the contemporary rock sound of the time hardly forces one to ruminate on how it became so successful, because when you apply some thought, you realize it was just the right person with the right people around him, at the right place, during just the right time; and we haven’t even talked about the actual music yet.

The cover alone sets the mood before the needle hits the wax. A foreground shot of Prince on a badass purple motorcycle, dressed in his droll purple suit to boot, while Apollonia chills in a doorway in the background. The presumable back alley is dark and smoky, giving a distinct 80’s timestamp, which the offset flowery frame around the shot doesn’t help in masking. However, the peculiar sight makes for a fantastic image, which is part of the reason this packaging ultimately goes a long way in helping this record become so recognizable, profitable, and legendary; all before the high, ethereal drone of the organ on “Let’s Go Crazy” springs to life from the speakers.

In a precursor to the heavy-handed religious themes that would become more groan inducing in later years, Prince implicitly slips in his gospel influence with perhaps the most famous spoken word introduction ever. Iconic to this day, nearly everyone immediately recognizes its origin, perfectly setting the stage for the upcoming 43 minutes and 51 seconds of musical exaltation. Actually, exaltation is a more than appropriate use of the word to describe this legendary opening track, as the religious connotations it evokes inexplicably roots the word to its 14th century origins; a millennium famous for the Black Death, the height of chivalry, and an undoubted Christian influence on society.

As for why that matters now, well, have you listened to that opening track? It’s heavenly as all hell, and fitting, considering the lyrics are all about having faith and not giving into temptation. However, what this song really does is showcase the talent of The Revolution, who demonstrate very early on that they are here to only add, and never subtract, from Prince’s ideas.

The existence of Superman makes people question the need for the Justice League, but Purple Rain is the eternal example of why teamwork tends to be the best power of all, even for the immensely talented. Sure, Prince could have recorded every instrument himself as he did in the past, but by allowing the band to simultaneously jam out, while having input into the songwriting and compositions, Prince gave himself the chance to even better flesh out his ideas. His amazing guitar solo that leads to the dramatic breakdown that ends the song is only successful due to the synergy the band displays in creating a playful rock groove that maintains the necessary intensity to keep this song ingrained into your subconscious.

Much like Pennywise’s sewer, everything on this album floats. Prince’s airy vocals, whether it’s the falsetto he hid behind on his first three records, or his natural voice he’s grown more confident in since Controversy, take front stage of the mix on every song. You are never confused on who the star is, and if you’re a fan, then you’re also immediately aware of the corresponding layer this project possesses that was missing from previous efforts.

Truthfully, a bulk of this album is Prince solo tracks, including the lead single; the last one attributed to solely Prince until 1987. It’s not a strike against the album however, as I stated before, The Revolution complimented Prince; another tool at his disposal to craft a song with, one that could serve as an extension of him, both on record and on stage. That’s why his name is the big purple one illuminating in the top billing slot on the cover, and why the backing band is seated comfortably below the star, very much like old Hollywood. There’s a sentient tradition to the entire scope of the mythos crafted here, with the film filling in the gaps to anyone who may want to ask any extraneous questions about the performer that may arise from the very philosophical nature of the songwriting.

That’s exactly why The Revolution was so important; when else did Prince sell this many records? When was he ever again this cinematic; crafting a universe that was closer to the vest then he had ever let anyone so much as peek at before, and perhaps never so closely again. Relinquishing control is hard for those who wield it, and allowing his most trusted talents to share the stage with him, even if they were lifted of nearly half the workload, was the smartest move Prince potentially ever made.

George Clinton, another one of Prince’s influences, used the very essence of comic book/science-fiction storytelling to craft a world that lead to Parliament-Funkadelic’s most successful albums, giving us the P-Funk, and the group an amazing second wind to ride out their 70’s legacy into the early 80’s. Using that same world-building and mythos-expanding concept, Prince let the movie stand as a near separate entity from the soundtrack. A viewing of one or a listening of the another is inconsequential to the importance of understanding either creative work. If you’ve never seen the movie, give it a watch, it’s the best incorporation of a soundtrack into a story I’ve ever seen, but I will highlight the fact that ultimately, this movie is buoyed by the soundtrack, so a viewing of it is entirely up to the cinematic taste of the individual reader.

“Let’s Go Crazy” is the essence of the Minneapolis Sound, perfectly encapsulating the state of popular music in 1984. The religious sentiments in the song’s subtext certainly resonated with the conservative masses of the time, as did the amazing guitar work/solo, which meant the mainstream finally gave Prince the respect he had rightfully earned as a guitarist. Beautiful in its execution, “Let’s Go Crazy” perfectly sets the atmosphere for this ensuing sedulous side of music.

A string section arranged by Prince and Lisa, conducted by Lisa and Wendy, leads the melody and general composition of “Take Me with U”, a duet with Apollonia. Originally intended to be placed on the sole Apollonia 6 album4, Prince decided halfway through April ’84 that the track’s inclusion on Purple Rain was necessary, and though it has a reputation as the weakest song on the album, I have always enjoyed the song and championed its inclusion. I’m unsure of how great the song sounded in the three days previous to the string section being dubbed in, but I do know, and enjoy, the final result of that work.

I’m unsure if people in general are too cynical to enjoy a breezy, lighthearted romp between two pretty voices, but it’s always sounded great to me. It’s entirely possible Prince was aware of this, and that’s why he had Lisa and Wendy conduct a string arrangement over the barren sound space, as the same three people are credited for the cello, viola, and violin on this arrangement as the other two arrangements done in mid-September ’83 on “Baby, I’m a Star”, and “Purple Rain”. Regardless, it’s always given me the cheery feeling one gets cruising down an empty main road on a beautiful late spring/early summer evening with their other half. Besides, Bobby Z’s drum fills on this track are probably the best of his career, in my humble opinion, and I don’t think that deserves to go unnoticed. Crucify me if you must, but “Take Me with U” is rather underrated in the pacing of this album, as well as its standing in the general consensus of welcomed fan favorites.

Flashbacks to 1999 are permitted during listenings of “The Beautiful Ones”, as the spacey atmosphere is awfully reminiscent of such tracks as “Something in the Water (Does Not Compute)”, also tracked at the Purple House, or even “Let’s Pretend We’re Married”, another one of the more breezy tracks from the previous effort. Unlike those songs however, this track acts as the emotional anchor that masterfully ties the entirety of side one together.

A devotion to God while maintaining a healthy sexual appetite is entirely possible, at least, that’s what Prince had been trying to better convey since Controversy. Religious subtext had always been present in his lyrics, but much as he had merged many other influences during this record, his songwriting here hits a new peak; practically poetry. Pining for the woman of his desires, Prince spouts off on how he needs her love, and that she should stop playing games. If he wasn’t so damn confident in what he was saying, it could’ve came off as desperation.

The lightweight, airy vocals on this track gradually build in intensity until the climatic ending, when the music swells to its most dramatic, and Prince just cuts loose. We’ve heard him scream before, but this has to be the best he ever devoted to wax, because, well, he’s quite literally laying it all out for the woman in question. A simple question, “Do you want him, or do you want me?”; yet when he bellows it out before encapsulating all his feverish emotions in those epic screeches, it makes you wonder; how much do I really love the one I call beautiful? If it’s anything less than the way Prince shrieks “baby”, then perhaps you’re the beautiful one.

The smoky cauldron that is the atmosphere of “The Beautiful Ones” begins to simmer, but only temporarily, as the bubbling picks back up for the dynamic “Computer Blue”. Shown in the film as a melody originally composed by the protagonists father, Prince breaks the fourth wall and uses it as a motif during the long instrumental break that comprises most of the track. A complete collaborative effort, The Revolution once again demonstrate their immeasurable worth on the song; starting with the famous introduction.

Is the water warm enough? Yes Lisa. Shall we begin? Yes Lisa.

Steamy lesbian baths aren’t your standard pop music metaphors, and for Prince it’s practically subtle. After spilling his guts on the previous track, it turns out it was all for naught, as on this track;

There must be something wrong with the machinery.

An interesting way to stir his own pathos, essentially confessing his innate longing for love has led him to a state of depression. Allowing myself to think rather Freudian momentarily, my theory of incorporating his fathers melody as a motif also foreshadowed the opening song of side two’s central themes; but we’ll get to that soon enough. Here, it’s a symbolic showing of how his fathers id has successfully passed down a generation, as opposed to the movie where he just kinda outright plagiarizes his father. The extended cut of this song had two verses from Wendy & Lisa further explaining Prince’s predicament, as well as an insanely long, continuously transforming middle passage, but I’m actually kind of glad it was cut for pacing reasons; however, why not at least release it as a maxi-single? Seems like that would have been up his alley.

After demonstrating why he was one of the greatest guitar players on the planet, we creep into the grimy “Darling Nikki”, the song entirely responsible for the parental advisory sticker. Framing it in that narrative, it’s actually rather disappointing. Obviously what’s shocking in 1984 likely won’t hold up decades later, but even by ’84 standards, I’m kind of surprised that parents reacted the way they did. The actual song is great of course, with the sleazy, understated guitar work by Prince acting as the guiding force of the composition, slipping in between the beat seemingly every other bar.

There’s just no way this is the song that Tipper Gore should’ve chosen to wage a censorship war against. Perhaps it was a hidden agenda by big brother to snuff out a rising star who had been critical of the administration? Only being sarcastic, but it’s only funny because it’s worth a thought.

Regardless, after an entire side of sentimentality and confessing emotions, it’s important to grind out a sexy experience for yourself. Plenty of hidden messages in this one; role reversal between the adventurous man and shady woman, with the religious subtext within that story serving as a metaphor for selling your soul to the devil. A sexy, surface level appearance is beneficial, but Prince relied on more than just appearances to serve a point. Backmasked messages were a popular feature of hippie culture, with conservative parents believing devil worshippers were hiding satanic messages that could be heard in reverse on popular rock albums. This is a real thing that Prince lived through, and I doubt his father or mother regulated his music in such a way, but the hidden messages from the music of his youth made its way onto his magnum opus.

Hello, how are you? I’m fine, ‘cuz the Lord is coming soon… coming, coming soon.

Played forward; it’s an odd gospel-sounding piece that closes a celestial side of music. Backwards, and The Purple One’s message is revealed. Even during his sexier moments, continuity must be kept. The reward? One of the greatest, most accessible, concise, and idiosyncratic sides of music in the world of popular music. After you’ve finished marveling the excellent pace set thus far, and you’ve flipped over to the more grounded side two, you’re greeted by “When Doves Cry”, the runaway smash hit that helped propel this entire thing into the spotlight.

How can one album be so damn excellent? How can a song with no bass line be such a smash hit? The key is the message, or rather, the way Prince delivers his story. Arguments are common in relationships, as the narrator of the tale suggests during the first verse, since even his parents had serious disagreements with each other; at least, from what the listener can gather from that legendary chorus.

Much like “Little Red Corvette”, it’s hard to talk about this song in particular due to its massive success and critical adoration. There’s not much I can say that hasn’t already been said, but I will say the general composition of the track is intriguing. No bass line, badass guitar introduction, more innovative, characteristic drum machine fills, and sexy, airy vocals that should be decoded in English 101 college courses; of course it debuted at #1.

Beginning the third act of the LP with “I Would Die 4 U”, Prince gathers his band for a standard, but exciting, stadium-starter. Closing out the album should prove to be difficult, as how do you properly end such a mammoth project that dares tap into our biblical thought patterns? Starting off with a fast-paced dedication to the one you’ve been fighting for since track two is a good start, especially after the dour smash hit in “When Doves Cry”; that acts as the end of a slightly long second act, when the protagonist is at their lowest point. How does one rise up and succeed? In this tale, it’s only through solidarity and self-acceptance that one may succeed, which may have made this track rather cathartic for The Revolution.

The band sticks around to assist with the final three tracks, contrasting the two appearances they had on side one. It’s nearly poetic the way they helped set the table on the opening track, and then helped a depressed lover jam out when he most needed a boost of confidence to go out sleazing. I only reiterate their involvement on side one because I don’t want anyone to understate their importance in the finale of this project.

In films, or stories in general, you have the hero’s journey, where one man travels through dangerous situations to either retrieve, rescue, or learn something/someone. The sole composer and musician for a majority of the tracks up to “When Doves Cry”, is Prince. Even on his biggest album with the most help available, he’s still doing things his way. That’s why it’s so subconsciously satisfying to have the record close with three group efforts; nothing could stop this force from achieving their goal and reaching their destination.

“Baby I’m a Star” is a fan favorite, although for a while it was this critic’s least favorite song from the album. “I Would Die 4 U” segue ways directly into this song, continuing what feels like a glorious send off, like one is preparing for a final bow. In the film, it acts as the closer, and it’s not entirely out of place. The track definitely continues the spacious, euphoric feeling of “I Would Die 4 U”, while simultaneously creating a lively atmosphere that the previous track simply lacks. It’s almost a 1a, 1b situation, with the two tracks combining to create one long jubilant stretch of music before the curtain closer.

Which is what we all came for, right? I know the other eight songs are amazing, downright perfection in most cases, but this is the song we’ve all been waiting to read about? The solemn admittance of a love fallen apart that morphs into the triumphant celebration of self-discovery? I mean, what the fuck can I really say about it?

I can say it’s flawless, but so is a majority of this album. The one complaint you’ll get from me is the lack of low end bass on this thing, but that’s undeserving of a response. I can mention how the storyline progresses through the regretful lyrics on this song; how the one Prince pines for in the beginning stages of this album has prepared to move forward without him. He’s given his devotion, he’s put in the work to make himself stand out, which is why he’s a star, and now that he’s ready to take the next step, his lady love has decided that maybe, they are better off apart.

It’s a classic story of how one can fall out of love; fitting when the entire album up to this point has been about finding your purpose and falling in love. Fantasy has always been one of Prince’s strong suits, but a good storyteller grounds their characters in just enough reality for the masses to buy into. That’s what makes the entire thing such a work of art, just how much of it actually connects with the average person. Not everyone enjoys the filthy fantasies of Dirty Mind, but a majority of people do enjoy the classical sentiments they get from this beautifully constructed album.

A nine, nearly ten, minute send-off would normally be viewed as pretentious, even if it is the closer to a mega-selling album. On Purple Rain, the title track closing this thing is mandatory. The culmination of several factors, multiple influences, and one person’s divine belief in themselves, “Purple Rain” succeeds in propping up every concept dreamed into fruition as a theme on this album.

Never wanting to be gawked at; fawned over, sure, Prince compiled one of the strongest track listings ever, mostly on his own terms. If he was going to take what he believed to be his rightful place amongst the largest figures in the entertainment industry, then it absolutely had to be on his terms. It’s another reason people identify with the album so much, it’s authentic. Just staring at the cover art alone gives off the impression this is a man who’s shrewdly operating on his own principles.

Having this published was more difficult than the rest, as I normally have these reviews wrapped up before the 15th paragraph. Understanding this piece was going to be rather extensive, I’ve done my best to elongate the review and summarize more of the big picture stuff Prince had tried to express during this album’s runtime. The full scope of this album has immeasurable depth to it, and I apologize to anyone who finds this review lacking in more technical critiques.

Purple Rain doesn’t deserve that however, something this massive is done a disservice when you make it simply about the technicalities. The masses don’t care about the compositions, but are they wrong for enjoying something so easily accessible? Try as anyone might, there’s no successfully recreating this work of art; lightning truly only strikes once.

1984 is the highlighted year on the Prince timeline. If something odd doesn’t fit, it’s labeled an outlier. In this case, the graph is seriously all fucked up, because the album plants itself so far away from the grid that it doesn’t belong to the institute anymore, it’s for anyone curious and willing enough to go exploring. Yeah, that sounds about right; inspiration, a true legacy left behind.

Editor’s Notes

  1. The warehouse serves as headquarters of show-stealing Morris Day and his group, including the unforgettable Jerome.
  2. A similar situation today would see an R&B singer incorporate trap elements into their production.
  3. They were “mentioned” on the cover of 1999, in the backwards eye, but what comprised of his closest friends; save for Morris, and in some cases, occasional lovers, eventually became his first, and arguably most memorable, billed backing band.
  4. Which suffered as a result, if you were wondering my thoughts, but was okay enough. “Sex Shooter” is fantastic, of course.
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