Prince was considered a musical genius for many reasons, chief among them was the way he was able to master every musical genre he attempted, from rock to pop to R&B…to hip hop? You might not automatically think of Prince as a hip hop artist, but he did flirt with rap for an extended period in the early ’90s, specifically on the Diamonds and Pearls and Love Symbol albums. But if you ask Roots drummer/Prince superfan Questlove, the Purple One was actually a hip hop pioneer, setting the trend for what we think of today as the hip hop lifestyle.
Inspired by the Prince-dedicated issue of The Source, in a half joking/half serious post on Instagram, the Roots drummer schooled everyone on exactly why Prince was such a true hip hop pioneer, and all in 40 convenient bullet points. Among those points, Questlove noted that Prince “refused 2 b ordinary & eschewed the proper English language as a ways 2 communicate”—a reference to Prince using the letter “U” as a stand-in for the word “you” and the number “4” for the word “for” long before most hip hop artists were doing it, and way before Twitter forced everyone to do it. (“I Would Die 4 U” anyone?) Questlove also reminded folks that Prince “knew the B side wins again and again.” This is a reference to the famous flip sides to Prince’s singles, which spawned such classics as “Erotic City” and “Irresistible Bitch.”
Ever since Prince’s passing last month, Questlove has been spreading the love for his idol every chance he can get, from writing a lovely opening tribute to Madonna’s Billboard Music Awards tribute, to writing an amazing essay over at Rolling Stone. Now you can read all 40 of his reasons why Prince is a hip hop pioneer by checking out Questlove’s Instagram post below:
1st i chuckled cause well…—ok it’s been a min since I saw The Source but after I pondered —-yeah it made sense: 1) came from troubled home 2) limited access to music forces him to create his own world of music 3) Overcame Poverty 4) creates fictional background tales to keep the press guessing 5) lives by the DIY creed 6) takes fashion taboos & makes them mainstream and acceptable 7) cock blocks & steals yo lady on the low (ask Rick) 8) puts his crew on—get them deals & makes them stars 9) pretty much wrote the book on gettin some better than any of his contemporaries 10) had beef w his peers who hated on him 11) invented the remix (not disco edits, but reimagining the album version) 12) played mystery card—let us think what we wanted—gave the press middle finger 13) ghostwrote for everyone 14) used mad aliases 15) refused 2 b ordinary & eschewed the proper English language as a ways 2 communicate 16) knew the B side wins again and again 17) used the exotic honey to his advantage 18) used his music to give his views on the po po, politicians, gun control, war, god, squares & “the man” 19) turned a long music video into a revolution 20) best drum machine programmer ever 21) used synthesizers as a way of life 22) could make an entire album in less than a week 23) balled so hard in Paris & other parts of France—so he made a film about it. 24) cut his crew off and got a new crew. 25) went all hippie like it was nothing. 26) made dis records 27) never wifed em, mostly replaced em 28)started his own label 29) Parental Advisory was invented because of him 30) made a Black Album w a chip on shoulder to prove to black people he was still bad. 31) plays sports better than u 32) had mad songs in the stash 33) had an MTV mansion/compound long before anyone did 34) changed looks constantly 35)dropped music on the net in record time 36) looked out for his peeps on the low doing benefits and raising money like a modern day Robin Hood 37) tries taking on the man for his complete freedom 38) couldn’t tell him NOTHING 39) always escaped into thin air 40) left us way too early #PrinceRogersNelson #HipHopPioneer. @TheSource.
What do you make of Questlove’s 40 points about Prince? Agree or disagree? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Featured image courtesy of deviantArt // TSOR1