An unreleased Prince album recorded in 2010, Welcome 2 America, will finally be heard in July.
The late funk star’s estate has partnered with the Sony label Legacy Recordings to release the archived material, one entry in a vast archive of unreleased recordings.
The title track has been released, a loping, spacey funk song with spoken-word lyrics that feature a typically arch and withering examination of a US characterised as the “Land of the free / home of the slave” – harking back to the early 1990s when Prince cast himself as enslaved to his record label Warner.
Famously resistant to internet culture, Prince frames the US as being “where everything and nothing that Google says is hip” and subject to digital surveillance, its citizens “distracted by the features of the iPhone … Hook up later at the iPad / or we can meet at my place.”
Another line reads: “Go to school to become a celebrity, but don’t be late / Because everybody and their mama got a sex tape.” He concludes that the country’s global power is waning: “You can either learn Chinese / or get down on your knees.”
After recording the Welcome 2 America album, Prince announced a tour of the same name, telling prospective ticketholders in a written statement: “Bring friends, bring Ur children, and bring foot spray, because … it’s gonna B funky.” He also warned: “The world is fraught with misin4mation. George Orwell’s vision of the future is here.”
A deluxe version will feature a previously unreleased concert film of a 2011 Prince gig at The Forum in Inglewood, California, a 23-song set that includes cover versions of Bob Dylan’s Make You Feel My Love, Janet Jackson’s What Have You Done For Me Lately, and, closing the show, Roxy Music’s More Than This. It will also feature a 32-page book, photographic art print, poster and replica items from the era: a sticker, setlist, ticket, VIP invitation and backstage passes.
A double vinyl edition will featured an etched design on the fourth side. An additional 7-in release will feature the title track, alongside a live rendition on the B-side recorded in 2011 as a medley with the song Dreamer.
The release will excite fans eager for the release of further archive material, drawn from Prince’s mythically enormous vault, that required drilling into after his death in 2016 – reportedly only he had access to it.
Two posthumous collections have been released: the stunning acoustic set Piano and a Microphone 1983, and Originals, a compilation of demos of songs such as Manic Monday that he wrote for other artists. Expanded versions of the albums Purple Rain, 1999 and Sign O’ the Times have also been issued, featuring unreleased tracks from the vault.