I Would Die 4 U: Why Prince Became an Icon

Toure, Author
Toure. Atria, $19.99 (160p) ISBN 978-1-4767-0549-1
Reviewed on: 03/25/2013
Release date: 03/01/2013
Open Ebook - 160 pages - 978-1-4767-0554-5
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Through interviews with Prince's current and former band members, managers, notable musicians, and musicologists, Toure (Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness?) presents an eclectic portrait of the musician and composer. A pop star uniquely suited to speak to the alienation and sexuality of generation X, Prince is also deeply religious, and, in his personal and professional life, emotionally distant. He was precocious and ambitious from a very early age, a latch-key kid whose extreme devotion to music served as an escape from a dysfunctional upbringing. This later translated to intense and complicated relationships with his backing bands over the years, as well as difficulty forming intimate relationships. Highly conscious of his public persona as a "hypersexual trickster" in touch with his femininity, Prince employed "a plethora of identity idioms to break free of the conventions and strictures of Black male identity." However, Toure makes the case that his music has always been a "collision of the spiritual and profane," as rife with sexuality as with profound, sincerely held religious images. In this sense, even his most iconic, memorable hits— such as "Purple Rain" and "When Doves Cry"—come from "the most badass preacher that pop music has ever seen." (Mar.)
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