Like most of you, I was in denial when I first heard about Prince yesterday. I'm still processing this information actually. I was hoping it was some cruel, overzealous tabloid trying to be the first to break the story in this age of report-first-verify-later internet journalism.
But, soon thereafter, I realized it was true. Prince had left this earth.
WT entire F?
Since then, as I did with Aaliyah, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Amy Winehouse, I have been saturating myself in his music. All of it. Like, bro, if I turn to your station and you're not playing Prince right now, WHAT IS YOUR POINT?
Though I never got a chance to see him perform live (for which I will forever side-eye myself), I am grateful that I was alive during his time on earth and got to experience his influence. He is in a class by himself, one of the greats and will forever be legend.
With that, here are a few reasons why I am thankful for Prince Rogers Nelson:
For his artistry:
First and GOTDAHMB foremost, Prince was a pure artist. No artificial flavors. It's been reported that he played 27 different instruments. 27! Lordt. Do you realize there are millennials out there who can't even play a CD? There are "artists" out there who can't even hold a note without the help of auto-tune. Wouldn't know where the C note is on a piano if you gave them a map. Couldn't make a beat if you gave them a table. Prince actually played almost every single instrument on his first five albums. On top of that, his vocal range was wide as the equator. Recognize.
Though I've never seen him live in the flesh, I've seen him perform live on TV and, honey, Prince was a performer. He put on a fantastic live show.
For his shade:
Prince was King of Shade and, oh, how we loved it! In my mind, Prince was like your best friend sitting across the room who would catch your eye every time some foolishness went down. You could count on him for the perfect response: a smirk, a side-eye, an eye-roll or a lip curl at just the right time. And we would laugh knowingly, because Prince was us.
For his consistent slayage:
Prince slayed before "slayed" was even a term. Show me someone who says they've seen Prince not slaying and I'll show you a liar. Charlie Murphy even told y'all Prince beat up on him on the basketball court wearing heels and a blouse. This man was 5'2", regularly wore blouses, heels and eye-liner and could still take your girl if he wanted to. He stood strong in who he was and what he believed.
But I also don't think he took himself too seriously. The fact that he used the picture of Dave Chappelle impersonating him on the cover of his "Breakfast Can Wait" single made me giggle so much. He slayed. All day.
For sharing his gift (and his heart) with us:
Prince had 39 studio albums and 4 live albums plus singles, music videos and compilation albums. That is what you call a catalog. Decades-long. And so many of his songs applied to so many aspects of our lives. I graduated from high school in 1999 so, naturally, I felt like that song belonged to me and my class. I STILL DO (fight me).
He was also a mentor to a lot of artists who came up behind him, like Sheila E, J*Davey, Janelle Monae and countless others. It's also coming out more just how big of a humanitarian Prince was and how he did it not looking for recognition, but because he genuinely wanted to help. I can appreciate that. It's much more genuine than a billion-dollar corporation wanting a huge press conference because they're donating an over-sized check for $1,528.13 to the year's charity du jour. It's more from the heart.
So thank you, Prince, for "Let's Go Crazy." For "Raspberry Beret". For "Purple Rain." For "Seven." For "When Doves Cry." For authenticity. For spirituality. For artistry. For dignity. For inspiration. For shade. For giving. For MUSIC. I can't believe I'm bringing a child into this world where there is no Prince. No Michael. No Whitney. (Please, SOMEBODY, put a fence around Stevie Wonder. Make sure he's taking his vitamins. We can no longer deal.)
The wonderful thing is that Prince lived while he was alive. He was an icon. He left behind his legacy. His music will make him live on forever. And hearing awesome stories from people who knew him (Questo has some of the best ones) make us feel like we knew him a little better, even though he was the consummate enigma.
So rest well, Prince. And thank you.