I never really know how to handle losses like these on this blog. After all, I didn’t know Prince personally (no one I know did – if you did, let me know), I never saw him in concert, and I cannot rattle of facts about him like I could for John Mayer, or say, Amy Winehouse. And I’m not CNN, so it’s not my job to report breaking news or secretive details.
But when I heard the news – someone at work said it flippantly, in passing, “yeah, sad,” she said. It felt disrespectful to even think of it, of him, like that. It was more than sad; more than water cooler gossip.
Then I heard one of the Jacksons on the news saying it was like when we lost Michael. Not to be rude, but no, no it’s not.
For me, comparing Michael Jackson to Prince is like comparing Kendall Jenner to Karl Lagerfeld. I don’t mean that as an insult – I absolutely love Michael Jackson. But, he was the King of Pop, not creative ROYALTY. Jackson took songs that were handed to him, and performed the shit out of them.
But Prince? Prince wrote the music, the lyrics, and played every instrument on his first five albums, which he also produced. No, seriously. He was the real deal; a legend. More than an icon.
And, there’s something to be said about the universe surrounding a person. Jackson had a lot of negative press; like bad. To be a Michael Jackson fan meant you had to take giant breaths defending him. Prince? He was pretty private.
All weekend, the Sirius R&B Groove station played back-to-back Prince songs; some songs which I didn’t even know he sang. It was enlightening, and of course, made me realize all over just how sad it was, and how I wish I would have paid attention a little sooner.
I was laying in bed the other night, watching an old episode of “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon”, and I actually didn’t realize it was an old episode until Fallon introduced The Weeknd by saying the number of Grammy’s he’d won the night before.
He sang the first verso of “In the Night” before introducing Lauren Hill (the-one-and-only). It was her make up to him after she ditched his ass at The Grammy’s.
It got me thinking about the tortured souls in pop culture. Lord knows I love, love, LOVE Lauren Hill – her album, “The Miseducation of Lauren Hill” changed my life as much as any musical piece could.
But the smash album – the one that changed hip-hop forever – was also the start of her demise; the flame to the fuse of her mis-crediting lawsuit; tax evasion and jail sentence; eradic performances and general public distaste of the music industry and the world we live in.
From torture and sadness comes the most beautiful art. Sad but true. But I have to wonder – is this the story for all TRUE creatives? Are they so different, so talented, so out-of-the-norm that they can’t fit into the squares of “normal” society, i.e. the people who are buying their product?
When Prince’s death was announced last week, there was also mention of his previous hospitalization for “flu-like sentence”; we all know that’s Hollywood’s code for “overdose”. And yes, a quick Google search will reveal he OD’d on percocet and received a “save shot”.
Was Prince tortured? We may never know. It will probably be weeks when they rule an official cause of death for the artist, but I hope it isn’t that – even though his drug dealer has stepped forward with some pretty shattering details.
It makes me sad that I can watch an episode of “Intervention” and see some random asshole crunching handfuls of opiates, but…
Then it just makes me sound like an asshole that I’m valuing Prince’s life over that of a deadbeat in the New Jersey suburbs.
I’m not, really I’m not. At the very least, I just think that maybe Prince was too amazing; too fabulous to grow old. The good die young; and his legacy won’t be that of torture. It will be his talent; his purple REIGN.