I’m not terribly interested in writing about “Like a Mack.” It’s a club banger from 2015’s Hitnrun Phase One featuring hip hop duo Curly Fryz. Curly Fryz consists of sisters Dani and Charli Curiel. Dani Curiel directed Prince’s “Breakfast Can Wait” video at the age of 18 and collaborated with Prince again on this track. She’s better known now as singer/rapper DaniLeigh. “Like a Mack” is a fun, uptempo party track mostly about nonsense like how many people are looking at them because of how cool they are.
Today I’m far more interested in the leaked news that a super deluxe edition of Sign ‘O’ the Times is coming this September. Based on the track list this is going to be epic. I heard the news from the Twitter account of a fellow Prince fan online that goes by the name of Casey Rain. I dig most of the stuff I’ve seen from Casey, but I’m not big on most of the Prince fan stuff I’ve seen out there. Here’s why:
I see way too much negative. I swear, 80% of the Prince fans I see online just spend time trying to one-up each other. To some of them you ain’t shit unless you saw his band Grand Central play in high school and you can name every band member he’s ever had and every track in his vault. If you ask them their favorite Prince song it will almost certainly be something literally nobody has ever heard before…some obscure vault track that they found online. I’ve joined a few of the social media offerings from Paisley Park since COVID broke out and the comments are appalling.
In April (or May…or March…time doesn’t exist anymore so I can’t remember) Paisley Park held a live online interview with recently-hired Executive Director Alan Seiffert. The interviewer was The Current’s Andrea Swensson. I enjoy Swensson’s work. Here’s precisely why: I can hear her love of music and Prince in everything she does. She doesn’t need to flex. She’s not constantly bragging about the concerts she saw or the rarities she’s heard. That’s not to say that she couldn’t. Based on what I’ve heard she knows more about Prince and has experienced more Prince than the rest of us combined. Anyway, Swensson was interviewing Seiffert about his credentials, past work, and what’s in store for the future of Paisley Park. I was impressed by how personable Seiffert was and how excited he was to get PP back up and running after COVID. 75% of the commenters weren’t having it. The comments were all, “Go back to New York,” “He doesn’t know anything about Prince,” “Prince would hate this guy,” “He’s too corporate,” “I’ll bet he can’t even name a single B-side,” etc. I shut it off. What was funny to me was how he spent so much time making sure to point out how amazing the Prince fans are and how welcoming they’ve been. I had to wonder if he was saying that, but what he was thinking was, “I’ve only been here six months and these people are driving me fucking nuts already.” Nothing satisfies these people. So, I turn it off. Not just the comments during that interview. Everything. I focus on the music and try to stay positive. I don’t need to read everyone’s critique about how the Prince Estate is handling his work. I’m not reading a single message board because it almost always pisses me off. I’d rather listen to the music, read books, and liner notes.
Then I write about it, which probably makes me more like those internet commenters than I care to admit.
All of this makes me look wildly hypocritical, and maybe I am. Like their opinions aren’t valid but mine are. Am I guilty of the stuff I posted above? Seriously, am I, because I try not to be. I’m sure that I’m guilty to a degree. I’m not trying to one-up anyone with my understanding of Prince. This is genuinely how I feel: I think Prince was not just a musical genius (that’s obvious) but a fascinating person outside of that as well. I can’t get over how he willed himself to be the best. When everyone else slept, he worked. When people doubted him, he proved them wrong. He was misunderstood and he liked it that way. He wanted people to underestimate him. To be distracted by the sex and the outfits and the strange interviews. I admire the hell out of that. He could write and perform any kind of music, play most of the instruments, then record and engineer it all by himself. He recorded thousands of songs, many of which still haven’t seen the light of day. Literally. They’ve been in a vault. He loved music so much he had very little time for anything else. Yet, I believe the consensus among most people I know is that he was a has-been who wore a lot of makeup and freaky clothes and peaked in 1984.
I’m here to prove them wrong. Not because I know more than anyone else. I certainly don’t. I’m here to hopefully introduce you to a lot of Prince’s work that you wouldn’t have heard otherwise. Writing about Prince every day for the past two months has been a blast. I’ve learned so much about him researching every day. He was an amazing artist and unique thinker operating on a completely different plane than the rest of us and I believe he should be celebrated and remembered that way. I’m not here to shit on the new Executive Director of Paisley Park because his favorite Prince song is “Little Red Corvette” and not some deep cut. “Little Red Corvette” is top five for me, too. By the way, I’m not sure Mr. Seiffert’s favorite Prince song was “Little Red Corvette.” Just making the point that just because your favorite Prince song isn’t a deep cut doesn’t make you any less of a fan.
Will I occasionally criticize the music? Sure. Not every song was perfect. If I was positive 100% of the time that’d be a lie. It’s all coming from a place of love, though. I’m here to celebrate Prince. I’m not here to prove to you that I’m cooler than everyone else because Sheila E. talked to me on a message board once (she didn’t) or because I saw a show at Paisley Park one night when he played until 6:00 AM (I didn’t).
OK, that took an unexpected turn. I should edit most of this, but fuck it. I’m leaving it. “Like a Mack” is a fun song, but it’s not one of Prince’s best. It’s a lot of funk but even more nonsense. I’ll give it 2 out of 5 stars. I’ll be back to my regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.