Prince – “Born 2 Die”

Prince – “Born 2 Die”

Prince left behind a whole lot of unreleased music when he died in 2016, and his estate has been slowly sharing that music, one piece at a time. This summer, we’ll get the release of Welcome 2 America, an album that Prince recorded in 2010 and then never released. We’ve already heard the title track, and we have not yet heard the Soul Asylum cover, which should be fascinating. Ttoday, we get “Born 2 Die,” a previously unreleased track on which Prince channels the spirit of Curtis Mayfield.

“Born To Die” is a lush, funky, string-drenched ’70s-soul-style track that finds Prince singing in a familiar-sounding cracking falsetto. The song’s aesthetic similarities to prime Curtis Mayfield are entirely intentional. In a press release, Prince’s musical director Morris Hayes says, “[Prince] had been watching videos of his friend Dr. Cornel West on YouTube, and during one speech, Dr. West said, ‘I love my brother Prince, but he’s no Curtis Mayfield.’ So Prince said, ‘Oh, really? We will see.'”

At least in his released work, Prince typically did not strive to emulate the sounds of other artists. But with “Born 2 Die,” it’s fascinating; he sounds almost exactly like Mayfield. He also sounds like Prince, but if someone told me this was an unreleased Mayfield track from 1976, I would probably believe it. Listen for yourself below.

Welcome 2 America is out 7/30. Pre-order it here.

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