The Mystery Behind “The Black Album”

Do you remember how you first heard of “The Black Album?”

In 1987, it became one of the most bootlegged albums ever.  This after Prince pulled the plug on the project one week before it was set to be released. The problem was most promotional copies had already gone out and the album became an exclusive sought-after item that fans searched for like buried treasure. Fans weren’t sure if Warner Brothers or Prince scrapped the project, they just wanted to hear whatever was being hidden from them.

Image result for prince in all black album

1. LE GRIND (6:42)
2. CINDY C. (6:12)
3. DEAD ON IT (4:35)
4. WHEN 2 R IN LOVE (4:12)
5. BOB GEORGE (5:36)
6. SUPERFUNKYCALIFRAGISEXY (5:55)
7. 2 NIGS UNITED 4 WEST COMPTON (7:00)
8. ROCKHARD IN A FUNKY PLACE (4:30)

Listening to “The Black Album” left me with wide eyes, a confused look, and a wrinkled brow. I kept thinking there must be some mistake because I didn’t hear Prince’s signature sound or voice. I kept wondering what type of emotional space he was in when he wrote some of the lyrics.

I chuckled during “Bob George” and jammed to “Cindy C.”

As a teenager, I played “When 2 R in Love” over and over while I sketched and painted my original artwork in my bedroom.  “Superfunkycalifragisexy” was also great background music for my creativity but I dare not play any of it without headphones.  My parents already didn’t want me listening to Prince and I thought “The Black Album” would’ve pushed them over the edge!

“Honey, you see these pumps?” became one of my new catchphrases from “2 Nigs United 4 West Compton.” The line delivery came with all the attitude I could muster. The line was an inside joke mosty because only my fellow purple family knew what the hell I was talking about.

I packed “The Black Album” away quickly as Prince released new material and I heard that he didn’t support the album.  However, I couldn’t stop listening to “When 2 R in Love.”

There has been speculation on how to market “The Black Album” for re-release.  I think perhaps it would be awesome to release live recordings & an extra track from the Vault on a Black Album re-release.

Prince was very savvy about marketing and restricting access to drive demand for his music. It didn’t always work but when it did, it was explosive. Examine his legacy and the ravenously loyal fans who will never let him go.  I’m one of them.

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