“In the beginning God made the sea
But on the 7th day he made me
He was tryin’ to rest y’all when He heard the sound
Sound like a guitar cold gettin’ down
I tried to bust a high note, but I bust a string
My God was worried ’til he heard me sing” Prince – My Name Is Prince
Today is the worst day ever.
This won’t be eloquent. It won’t be pretty. Because I am hurting.
I’m sure your social media timelines are full of Prince tributes today and it may feel like overkill to you.
But for those who know me personally, then I would gamble I’m the biggest Prince fan you know. I mean my name on social media is MyDarlingNix, shortened from My Darling Nicki. My text notification is the opening chords of Darling Nikki. The alarm on my phone is his scream from Gett Off. I quote his lyrics in conversation like most people quote Coming to America or Stepbrothers. I had to buy an external hard drive to hold the 950+ tracks of his I have. I’ve seen him in concert five times – three in New Orleans, once in DC, once in New York City. I almost missed my 10 year reunion for the one in New York.
It feels surreal to me. Prince has been a huge presence in my life for over twenty years. I thought it hurt when Michael died. It felt nothing like this. I think I finally know who I was a bigger fan of.
As most kids of the 80s, I fell for Michael Jackson first. Prince’s music wasn’t relatable on a level I understood at such a tender age. I mean his mouth was filthy! My first memory of his music is the video “Gett Off.” My great grandmother who was over 70 at the time would always make us be quiet when the video aired on BET. She’d get extra excited and try to dance when he sang “I like ’em fat. I like ’em proud..Now move your big ass around this way.” It would just tickle me, but I returned to my Dangerous cassette tape.
Then, at 16, the movie Purple Rain played one night on BET, and I have been in love ever since. I’m not musically intelligent so I can’t wax on how prolific and profound and diverse his catalog is. I can’t lecture on the instrumentation and the complexity of his chords. I can’t compare him to another guitar virtuoso.
But I can tell you how his music transports me to another place. I can share how the first time I heard “P Control” floored me as I never considered how powerful being a woman was. I could tell you how “Adore” remains the epitome of the kind of love I desire. I could share how I played “International Lover” repeatedly when I took my first law school midterms.
Or I could tell you how our mutual love of Prince helped in the repair of the broken relationship between my father and me. We would ride around in his Corvette and his Prince albums would fill the awkward silence. Obviously, my mom had no idea of the language that was assaulting my ears. Hilariously, my dad does not scream or curse, but he loved Prince. And he feels the need to remind me often how I was conceived to Prince.
But what resonates most deeply with me and what I want to share with you are his lyrics. He was filthy, but he was brilliant. He was simple, but he was clever. He was sexual, but he was spiritual. He wasn’t meant to be understood, just heard. And he was funny!
There will never be another. And yes, I shed tears today and will continue to do so. If you haven’t encountered an artist whose music touches your soul, I feel sorry for you. Prince helped me to know myself, and his like will never be seen again.
“Baby, you’ve got to be from a different world
Cause just one look from you could make an army surrender
Baby, you’ve got to rescue me girl
A prisoner in love with the opposite gender”
“Every time we’re out on a date
I want 2 love U, U make me wait
U went and told me I look like a pimp
But honey, I noticed U waited ’til after dinner
18 jumbo shrimp, damn!”
“A body like yours oughta be in jail
Cause it’s on the verge of being obscene
Move over baby, gimme the keys
I’m gonna try to tame your little red love machine”
“The touch you’re about to feel is the one you’ve been wishin’ for
It’s been here like an echo inside your space and time
It’s about to get freaky cause the places that I’ll be kissin’
Are the places that no other man could ever find”
“I don’t wanna break your pride
But I got to
You better take your woman and hide her
I’m about to, got to
Show you what’s really good
Break you off like you knew I would”
“You really put it on me
You shut it down last night
I thought the police was gonna come
Loud, yeah, cryin’
Yeah, I ain’t tryin’ to make you blush
I just think you’re great
Ain’t no need to rush,
Breakfast can wait”
“So what is the answer 2 the question of u?
What do I look 4, what shall I do?
Which way do I turn when I’m feeing lost?
If I sell my soul, now what will it cost?
Must I became naked? No image at all?
Shall I remain upright? Or get down and crawl?
All of the questions in my life will be answered
When I decided which road to choose
What is the answer 2 the question of u?”
“Don’t be mad at me
The curtain puller in the game
Maybe how U call us Niggers ain’t the same
It’s all good when u know the only fame
Is the light that comes from God & the joy U get to say his name
Don’t play me”
“Until the end of time
I’ll be there for you
You own my heart and mind
I truly adore you
If God one day stroke me blind
Your beauty I’d still see
Love is too weak to define
Just what you mean to me”