Thoughts On How Prince Became An Icon By Toure

I’ve been a bit retrospective lately, could be for any number of reasons: the world didn’t end, approaching 30, 1.5 years without gainful employment, 1 year living with my girl . . . All in all I’m knee deep in flux. I’ve been transitioning between various potential jobs/careers and trying to find a way to link everything in my life; seeking synergy for all my interestes and associates. I’ve always strongly admired and attempted to live up to that Renaissance Man ideal, though procrastination issues and undiagnosed situational ADD have hampered me mightily. I don’t know what this long confessional is to really say other than I’m still attempting to figure out how everything is laid out at 29 or if I should waste time on it at all (*reading this a second time this sounds like a suicide confessional; I’m not that self absorbed).

I started this blog some time ago in attempt to lock those ideas down; place some stamp on the world around me and find those like minded individuals. Further it was always music based; at its inception a counterpoint to some of my previous work with the Pop music and ‘Indie’ rock scenes, which to speak honestly can be so far up their own asses you’d think they’d come out the other end different for it. So with that I found myself writing (reposting & lauding) the latest release by a number of young hip hop artists primarily OFWGKTA, almost to the degree of not even listening to their tracks, just banking on SEO traffic (a conflict between S8’s purpose & personal vanity).

When I took time to listen to them I was hit with that same feeling the older heads had “This just sounds like a _____ & ________. It ain’t that good” & the obligatory “What is this, they’re not saying anything unless its offensive.” I almost fell deep in that trap instead of letting OFWGKTA’s work speak for itself, but it was clear I was close to that transition where media & entertainment slowly morph into something younger and familiar yet more unrecognizable with each passing year. This process has been retarded due to the ability of the modern man (at least Western man) to hold onto his youth and vices well past their traditional & cultural expiration date, thank you Playstation.

Seeing as I’m creeping towards ‘too old to get it’, I’ve subconsciously started exploring things in my life that I was too young to understand while attempting to root this next stage in my life, career, relationships, etc. Just look at my reading list these past few months:

Reading Material

If that isn’t the reading list of a man in transition, I don’t know what is. Half of the material listed is steeped in the past that has undoubtedly shaped who I am as a person today. However because I was too young or simply weren’t born I had no way of knowing those people, places, things in real depth at the time. This all brings me to Toure’s analysis of one of the greatest musical and social genius’ & enigmas of the past 20 years, Prince. I Would Die 4 You .

For however much I love his music and always been intrigued by his aura. Just the idea of an extremely effeminate seeming man, who makes every woman swoon yet also has immense respect from male peers and onlookers was fascinating. I had to have been about 9 when this first came to bear right in front of me. An older cousin of mine had the Controversy LP poster discretely located on inside of her closet door.

In my household Prince was a figure of both reverence to be kept at arms length in favor of the more consumable and ‘family’ oriented Michael Jackson (hindsight is 20/20). I didn’t even see “Purple Rain” in its full format until college.

I know my own thoughts on identity and labels are a result of simply observing Prince in videos and interviews. In essence so much we put value in to shape our world view means really very little: for everything we bring to the table as men so often we let trivial matters blind us to so much of the depth thats right in front of you. Just look at the spectrum of masculinity in black music, his sexuality was oddly and clearly never in doubt:
Little Richard – probably blew dudes
James Brown – punch you in the face, then take your mom and sister out
Michael Jackson – probably blew male aliens
Prince – look you dead in the eye, then take your mom and sister out

This is already too long of a post. If you have other thoughts holler at me @bjones21 & @social8gency