“The Minneapolis Sound Is Strong with the Funk”: Boulevards Remembers Prince

Jamil Rashad, a.k.a. Boulevards, shares his thoughts on the passing of the Purple One.

This is is a sad, emotional, and somber day for me for a few reasons: the way he has influenced me musically. The way he carried himself. The way he didn’t have a care in the world about who would judge him. That influenced me. That was huge to me and it’s one of the many reasons I make funk music today. This man is beautiful, powerful, funny, amazing, a genius, and a long list of other adjectives.

Boulevards / photo by Daniel Topete

When I was a child, my father was a jazz guy, but he played Prince all the time. He made me study his songwriting and musicianship, his movies, his style, his candor. You listen to records now, and you can hear the Prince influence; the Minneapolis sound is strong and powerful with the funk. Even artists in his era tried to copy him.

He was the first to bring soul, funk, and rock and roll together and have it cross over into the
mainstream. If you are a pop artist or a musician creating music, or any kind of professional in this workforce, and you say Prince doesn’t have any influence on you, you are a liar.

If you’re trying to figure out how to mourn, I’d recommend picking up his records and listening to them, studying them, and enjoying them. Embrace his funk, embrace his sound. He took country melodies and put them into an R&B song called “Purple Rain.” Who does that?! Just Prince. No one ever talks about his guitar playing; he is one of the most underrated guitar players of our time. The opening of “When Doves Cry” is one of the most iconic and memorable solos ever created, and as with every instrument on the track, he played it. He used a synthesizer and flipped the script, and he managed to write one of the best dance songs of all time without using a bass.

I was always curious as to why Rick James and Prince never got along. Those are my two heroes. Imagine if they had dropped their pride and created one of the most beautiful party-funk records ever. Can you imagine?! Close your eyes and picture Rick and Prince coming together! He is with Rick now, and I hope Prince and all the funk gods—including Bowie and Maurice White—can make a record we will all hear in the afterlife.

I don’t know how to feel. I’m still digesting this. This passing has taken the air out of me and is causing me to look deeper for the funk, to look deeper at how to be a better man, to look deeper in how to live on the funk.

The FUNK will never go away. The FUNK will never disappear. REST IN PEACE, REST IN FUNK, PRINCE YOU WILL FOREVER LIVE ON! FL


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