by Eric Tullis
Following Michael Jackson’s death in June 2009, BET aired a show called Michael Jackson: 10 Things You Didn't Know. In it, The Roots drummer Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson made viewers privy to some comical trivia about the history of the King of
Pop’s song “Bad." According to ?uestlove, “Bad” was originally slated to be a duet that featured another member of music royalty—Prince. Prince declined the offer. Apparently, the opening line—“your butt is mine”—wasn’t too appealing to Prince. At a dinner, Prince told Mike, “You ain’t singing this line to me, and I sure ain’t singing this line to you.” Shortly thereafter, “Bad” was MJ's No. 1 hit.
Unfortunately, that’s about the extent of my Prince knowledge. I'm on MJ's team. But thanks to Rapper Big Pooh’s The Purple Tape project, I'm able to brush-up on some Prince history. Produced entirely by Detroit’s Black Milk, The Purple Tape (available here, at the big guy's Bandcamp) captures Pooh rapping above Black Milk’s reinterpretation of close to a dozen of Prince’s most famed hits. Several months ago, Black Milk released this instrumental, Prince-inspired project, Music From The Color Purple, but with his blessings and permission, Rapper Big Pooh decided to make an album out of it. Pooh has been steadily releasing scrimmage projects like this, in anticipation for his next official LP, Dirty Pretty Things. This just happens to be his most outstanding, creative tease yet. For a short making-of documentary on the tape, see HOJTV.