After turning Sign O' the Times into one of 2020's best box sets, the Prince Estate will move forward in time with an unreleased album from 2010 due this summer.
Welcome 2 America was completed in the wake of Prince's 20Ten (issued free with the purchase of different newspapers and magazines in Europe) but, like so many of The Artist's projects, put aside. The Minneapolis icon intended it as "a statement record...document[ing] 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." It was also, seemingly, more of a collaborative studio effort than most, with contributions by bassist Tal Wilkenfeld, drummer Chris Coleman and longtime keyboardist Morris Hayes (who co-produced), as well as vocals from Shelby J, Liv Warfield and Elisa Fiorillo.
Longtime fans will recognize a few tracks: "Hot Summer" and "Same Page, Different Book" received play on local Minneapolis radio stations, while versions of "When She Comes" and "1000 Light Years from Here" appeared on Prince's final album, 2015's HITnRUN phase two. (The latter was a coda on the track "Black Muse.") "Stand Up and B Strong" is a cover of a fellow Twin Cities act, Soul Asylum (New Power Generation drummer Michael Bland later sat behind the kit for them), while "Welcome 2 America" - now available to hear at this link or below - became the title and live mantra of Prince's accompanying tour.
And for fans with deeper pockets, a deluxe edition adds a Blu-ray featuring a set from that very tour, recorded at The Forum in Inglewood, CA on April 28, 2011. A lively mix of his biggest hits (including songs written for others) and covers of everyone from Janet Jackson and Bob Dylan to Roxy Music and Kool & The Gang, the concert is presented in stereo, 5.1 surround, and Dolby Atmos mixes. (Buyer beware: the deluxe edition comes with a large, 32-page booklet, exclusive poster and memorabilia, but does feature the album on both CD and 2LP - a frustrating, price-gouging move The Second Disc, and most of our readers, remains annoyed by.)
All formats - CD, 2LP and the deluxe - will be available July 30. The Artist's official store also has exclusive gold LP pressings along with a 7" single (also on gold vinyl) featuring "Welcome 2 America" backed with the live medley of "Dreamer" and "Welcome 2 America" from The Forum set as a B-side.
Welcome 2 America (NPG/Legacy, 2021)
CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
2LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
2LP/CD/Blu-ray: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
- Welcome 2 America
- Running Game (Son of a Slave Master)
- Born 2 Die
- 1000 Light Years from Here
- Hot Summer
- Stand Up and B Strong
- Check the Record
- Same Page, Different Book
- When She Comes
- 1010 (Rin Tin Tin)
- One Day We Will All B Free
Blu-ray (deluxe edition only)
- Joy in Repetition
- Brown Skin (India.Arie cover)
- 17 Days
- Theme from "Which Way Is Up" (Stargard cover)
- What Have You Done for Me Lately (Janet Jackson cover)
- It's Alright (Graham Central Station cover)
- Make You Feel My Love (Bob Dylan cover)
- Misty Blue (Eddy Arnold cover)
- Let's Go Crazy
- Little Red Corvette
- Purple Rain
- The Bird (The Time cover/Prince comp)
- Jungle Love (The Time cover/Prince comp)
- A Love Bizarre (Sheila E cover/Prince comp)
- Play That Funky Music (Wild Cherry cover)
- Hollywood Swingin' (Kool & the Gang cover)
- Fantastic Voyage (Lakeside cover)
- More Than This (Roxy Music cover)
Recorded live on the Welcome 2 America Tour, The Forum, Inglewood, CA - 4/28/2011
Andemoine Winrow says
This coming April 21st will be 5 years since Prince's passing. And a week after that will be 10 years since he made the concert. It hard to believe it's already been 5 years. I never heard this album but i'm sure it's great and i will order it.
Yazid Manou says
The album will be profiled on CBS’ 60 Minutes Sunday, April 11.