Questlove On Prince’s “1999” Shows He’s A Great Music Writer

I STILL maintain that on Oct 27th 1982, Prince made his most INFLUENTIAL album. 1980’s #DirtyMind was the paradigm shift. ‘86’s #Parade was abstract. #SignOTheTimes (87) was the sprawling masterclass of versatility & blurred lines. (87) #TheBlackAlbum was his fonkiest. The most vulnerable (& best) 7 mins of his career lies in his most transparent lp #Controversy (81). #ATWIAD (85) is all over the place & #PurpleRain (84) is indeed his most focused & powerful. That said: I feel that to get to @Prince’s DNA one has to examine the total reach of his 5th offering “1999” His sound patches are so unique & so original that they became default “Prince Sounds”. Roger Linn’s drum patches have been in existence for 2 yrs at this point (Herbie was 1st w 1980’s Mr Hands) & the progression was interesting. But in #Prince’s hands? Man, he just cared more. It was enough to convince me he was playing them in real time. I never knew music could be programmed and sequenced before I heard this album. Those kick breakdowns in the final moments of the title cut, all the drum fills in the (actual 2nd in history to Sly’s Thank You/Talking To Me redo) Remix of #LittleRedCorvette, those angry 3 crashes tryin (and failing) to mask & conceal how far downtown he was willing to leave her uptown in Automatic. And “Something In The Water?”…ha ha forget it. His Oberheim synth programming was also MILES ahead of everyone else (Rick James stole Lisa Coleman’s synth from the Dirty Mind tour to record his bestselling #StreetSongs lp. So Rick does owe Prince gratitude. the 4 video offerings? w/ all the neon-smokey-videuendo Damn near pioneered the home vidrotic aesthetic. At precisely less than one month older than Thriller it’s a hard argument figuring out what had more impact (as albums I’m giving 1999 the 51% advantage for I believe MJ was bigger than Thriller—thus making it a social movement & more than just 9 cohesive songs on a platter) I mean I know all opinions are subjective. But I know one thing for sure: no one was ever the same after this album was released. Happy 35th #1999

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