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was a punch line to many in the hip-hop world:a hulking hippie in a Day-Glo caftan adorned with flowers, espousing a spiritual belief system only he really understood, talking of love and equality at a time when gangsta rappers derided as soft and fake any crew whose output was much less bizarre than P. Dawn’s (to say nothing of incorporating samples from Spandau Ballet).
Prince, when he writes, is always asking questions about things. (“When you open up your eyes/What’s in front of you/Is what’s supposed to be there/Really?
In 2001, I had the opportunity to spend a couple of hours with the late Freddie Hubbard for a Down Beat profile.
It took a bit of negotiating, but Freddie met me at the appointed hour, and spoke at length about his life and times.
In addition to MTV stalwarts such as Prince and Culture Club, he was introduced to older sounds like the Beatles and Stevie Wonder by his stepfather, a sometimes conga player with Kool and the Gang.
Prince Be toyed with guitar and DJ Minutemix tried drums and piano, but they abandoned those instruments early on.