Prince was a perfectionist. He was a relentlessly creative musician and a refined aesthete, careful about the music he put out in the world, always presenting a seamless package — image and sound.
In the three and a half years since Prince’s death at 57, those responsible for his estate have had to decide just how much of the private Prince will be revealed. When he died, the musician was in the early stages of working on a memoir. “The Beautiful Ones,” published in October, contains the early pieces of the project, as well as images of Prince ephemera. And last month, a deluxe edition of “1999” arrived, including a significant cache of unreleased work from his vault.
Would Prince have agreed to the release of this material in this form? Does the potential public good, and the contribution to the historical record, outweigh whatever uncertainties Prince might have had about the revealing of his rough drafts?
Joining Jon Caramonica on the Popcast:
- Jon Pareles, The New York Times’s chief pop music critic
- Naima Cochrane, a music and culture writer for Billboard, Vibe and others
- Keith Murphy, a music journalist for ESPN’s The Undefeated, Esquire, The New York Post and others.
- Jay Smooth, the host of Ill Doctrine Radio on hiphopmusic.com