Jun 03, 2021
By Mark Redfern
Photography by Mike Ruiz
The song has a bit of a Curtis Mayfield vibe, which was purposeful on Prince’s part. A press release goes into a bit more detail as to the track’s genesis: “The song was recorded during a flurry of studio activity in the spring of 2010, when President Obama was just a year into his first term and Prince was reflecting deeply on the issues affecting the Black community and the role he hoped to play in the social justice movement. The slow-burning song was first recorded by Prince, the bassist Tal Wilkenfeld, and the drummer Chris Coleman, and then accentuated by the vocal harmonies of Shelby J., Liv Warfield, and Elisa Fiorillo, and topped off by a melody sung by Prince himself. He then tapped Morris Hayes to add final production to the track.”
Hayes had this to add in the press release: “We got to ‘Born 2 Die,’ and Prince said, ‘I’ll tell you how that came about. He 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.’”
A previous press release described Welcome 2 America as “a powerful creative statement that documents Prince’s concerns, hopes, and visions for a shifting society, presciently foreshadowing an era of political division, disinformation, and a renewed fight for racial justice.”
The deluxe version of Welcome 2 America will come with a full-length live concert video from one of Prince’s string of 2011 shows at The Forum in Los Angeles during his “Welcome 2 America” tour.
Last year, the Prince Estate put out an expanded reissue of Prince’s 1987 album Sign O’ The Times. Prince passed away in 2016.