Questlove might be the biggest Prince fan in the world. The Roots drummer/emissary put together a list of all of Prince’s Warner Bros. releases (that’s 20 albums), in chronological order, writing a short review for each and giving each a rating, with his scale ranging from one @ (“I’LL INTRODUCE YOU TO A HEADACHE IF YOU DONT GET OUT MY FACE”) to five @’s (“AUUUUUUUUWAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”).
He originally put the list together in September 2015 for a Facebook friend who wanted advice on where to start as a serious beginner in the realm of listening to and learning about Prince. The list turned out to be so well-rounded and helpful that he published it on Okayplayer. Questlove updated and expanded his album-to-album Prince guide in honor of Prince Day yesterday for the site.
Questlove begins his, ahem, quest, with this statement: “next 2 religion & politics, sharing your opinions on Prince is some risk yo rep ish.” He says that it was three in the morning when he saw his Facebook friend Jose’s post asking for a Prince expert to clear the way, and he was bored, so he “broke it down.”
Some Questlove comments on Prince that stick out include this thought on 1999:
the songwriting was at his most perfect and focused and creative. his musicianship and mixing were off the chain. you hear this now and it sounds normal, but i assure you. when they premiered the title cut on radio were heard NOTHING LIKE IT EVER. no claps were ever that LOUD. no drum and kick were ever that punchy and deep.
And here’s the drummer’s insightful look at Purple Rain:
you’ll notice a pattern for every other album: album “a”) experiment and push envelope to no end album “b”) takes and trim the fat off “album a” and presents a more focused vision. prince took notes on the 1999 tour. and applied them… like Thriller, PR is a way of life not just a record. this changed our view on life. prince had exotic honeys? we wanted exotic honeys. prince dressed a certain way? we (for the most part in 84) followed suit (even the RUN DMC looking cats respected princes steeze. strange the author of “lets pretend we’re married” cleaned his act up but caught the ire of tipper gore (she gave album to her daughter for bday, heard “darling nikki” and had a fit) Prince’s least sexually offensive album winds up being the album that gave birth to the PMRC and stickering.
Read Questlove’s complete Prince guide here.