Rob Jones

Prince arrived on the sonic scene in the late 70’s and it was obvious that this individual had gifts both as a player and performer. However, the man born Prince Rogers Nelson was set to begin a career that  provided a whole host of genre breaking sounds but his business brain has also led to a major upheaval in a world where previously record labels ruled the roost. The artists under the regime of the major musical magnates had to follow their leaders and as 80’s success ensued Prince took umbrage to what he felt was disequilibrium between an incorrectly elevated employer and his energetic endeavour.

Prince seemingly sabotaged his well being in order to not feel undermined by the mighty Warner Bros. enterprise. However, Prince took strides to revolutionise an industry and in turn free acts from the stranglehold of money driven monopolies that stuck two fingers up to artistic integrity in favour of large profits.

Slave Trade: How Prince Re-Made the Music Business is a DVD that examines the ups and downs of the Prince story from the nascent days through to the present. A whole of host of interviews with associates and journalists makes for a riveting documentary. The conversation is aligned to a variety of pertinent footage either of Prince in action or other appropriate film of imperative pieces in a unique jigsaw.

Warner Bros., suffered the wrath of Prince as he was unhappy that peers such as Madonna and Michael Jackson were being rewarded in a more remunerative fashion. From that juncture a kaleidoscope of chaos unravels where both sides of a bruising battle take it on the chin-and, setbacks supersede with neither of the warring factors relenting. The intricacies of the Warner Bros. v Prince clash make for a compelling tale and every stone is overturned in the quest for the truth.

Along the way Prince never stops writing tunes and when he is apparently at the lowest ebb with his adversaries ‘the artist formerly-known as Prince’ scores with a self-released smash hit entitled ‘The Most Beautiful Girl in the World’. Warner Bros. and Prince were now in a position of mutual hatred and by 1995 the relationship soured to such a degree that Prince on completion of his contract conditions was now free of the mighty ogre and corporate constraints were severed.

Prince was eventually in the driving seat as a studio and stage entity and he took on board the mantle of selling to his fan base via the ever developing online opportunities. Prince had helped set a new trend of pop purchasing and he had the aural autonomy that was essential to his energy. However, Prince suffered as a result of his long term feuding with the forces that were and changing trends had pushed him out of the commercial mainstream.

Prince shared a 2004 Grammy stage with Beyoncé and a wider public consciousness was reminded of the diligence of a phenomenon and that triggered the ‘Musicology’ album to become his biggest ever success. From there Prince has continued to do it his way-and, his collaborations still thrive as has been shown via his recent bond with the young girl group, 3rdEyeGirl.

Slave Trade… is a well researched and lengthy account that places Prince as an uncompromising act who has taken huge risks but ultimately is a game changer. It is clear that the great man could write an album at the drop of a hat. Every song that is completed does not mean salivating over these glories but it is onwards and upwards because tomorrow equals more fresh challenges. Whether that equates to composing material or another electric show one thing is for sure Prince will give the cause 110% commitment.