Prince has made it his Gemini life's purpose to defy the musical expectations of his loyal, multi-generational fan base throughout the entire course of his career. Hence, we have HitNRun, his latest 11-song bid for pop resurgence via the fun-first EDM road. It's a lusty joy ride through hedonistic "Ibitha" rave territory and Prince is inviting everyone along for the glo-stick fun.
Now, while depressed Prince purists continue to weep for his First Avenue glory days, the Purple Rocker himself is too busy making body music for a new generation of party people to notice or even care. Like Madonna, like Janet, the sweaty business of pop music's pleasure principle will always trump respectability and past expectations.
And truth be told, HitNRun has a few tracks that could easily come from an imagined Fergie-reunited BEP, or some new Diplo heat. Like any music producer whose goal is to reach the broadest audience possible using the sounds of the day, Prince has turned to a familiar bag of tricks. The results are a solid mix of decent to very awesome: mean hand-waver ravers like the mission-statement track, "Ain't About to Stop Right Now," album opener "Million $ Show" featuring Michael Jackson tour alum Judith Hill; the lovesexy juices runneth over on the slow-burning "1000 X's and O's." Trap and dancehall tempos double-dutch through "Like A Mack," tantric tantalizer "This Could B Us," and the guh-tar melts faces over 808 thunder on "Hardrocklover." The album satisfyingly gets all touchy-feely at the end, closing with the lo-fi stunner, "June."
That said, there's something really ballsy about the record's shame-free play for modern EDM domination from the dude who arguably cleared the lane for all masterfully funky electronic noise on commercial radio. Prince has lately been in it to win it for a new generation that seems to come from a rush of fresh youthful energy around him, shredding with his band 3rd Eye Girl, cameos on The New Girl. Because age-ism? Fuggit. Are baggage-free casual listeners Tidal-surfing gonna dig? Definitely. Are lifelong Prince-ologists gonna enjoy his latest confection? Well… Are those two sets of fans at a Prince show gonna sit down when one of these new jams from HitNRun gets crunk live? Hell to the nope.
The maestro understands all of this. Prince, the man who made us party like it was 1999 way back in 1982, now wants to set the dance floor aflame in 2015. And we're not mad about that at all.
Read more about the making of HitNRun, check out these Q&As with Prince (insert: http://www.ebony.com/entertainment-culture/is-producing-prince-impossible-ask-joshua-welton-interview-111#axzz3lBg8unjJ) and his wunderkind producer (insert: http://www.ebony.com/entertainment-culture/prince-makes-king-move-with-tidal-interview-999#axzz3lBg8unjJ).