The Prince Estate and Legacy Recordings announced on Thursday (April 8) that Welcome 2 America — a previously-unheard Prince album from 2010 — will see the light of day on July 30.
Described 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 12-track album of originals (which includes a cover of fellow Minneapolis-bred rockers Soul Asylum’s “Stand Up and B Strong”), was previewed with the release of the slow-burn funk title track.
“Welcome 2 America/ Where U can fail at Ur job, get fired, rehired/ And get a 7 hundred billion dollar tip/ Come on in, sit right down and fill up Ur pockets, yeah/ Mass media, in4mation overload,” Prince sing-speaks in the first verse over a languid bass line and finger snaps accented by soulful female backing vocals.
A takedown of corporate greed, digital distraction, the vapidness of contemporary music (compared to classic jazz, that is), celebrity culture and sex tapes, the spoken word piece is a call-back of sorts to the late rock/pop icon’s infamous 1990s battle with his label over ownership of his music, during which he painted the word “slave” on his cheek. “Land of the free/ Home of the slave,” the back-up singers croon.
According to a release announcing the project, Prince went on a tour of the same name shortly after completing the album, playing residencies in several U.S. cities, topped by a 21-night stand at the Forum in Inglewood, California.
A deluxe edition of the album will come on CD and black vinyl (and as a hi-res download), packaged with a never-before-released full concert video of an April 28, 2011 show at The Forum in 1080p HD with stereo, 5.1 surround and Dolby Atmos audio.
The collection will be packaged in a number of editions, including a vinyl with music on three sides and a collectible etching on the fourth one and two color variant vinyl editions in gold (available from the Prince store) and clear vinyl (available at Target). A numbered, limited-edition gold-colored 7″ vinyl is also available from the Prince store and another 7″ includes the studio version of “Welcome 2 America” and a previously unreleased live version of the song recorded on May 14, 2011 at The Forum.
A deluxe edition will come in a gold-foil package designed by Grammy-nominated artist Mathieu Bitton and Grammy-nominated creative director and Prince associate Trevor Guy, with a 12″ x 12″ 32-page companion book and embossed vellum envelope with exclusive Welcome 2 America era extras including a photographic art print, 23″ x 36″ poster, replica setlist, ticket, VIP invitation and backstage passes.
Check out the track list and listen to “Welcome 2 America” below.
Welcome 2 America
“Welcome 2 America”
“Running Game (Son of a Slave Master)”
“Born 2 Die”
“1000 Light Years From Here”
“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”
* Soul Asylum cover
Welcome 2 America (Live at The Forum, April 28, 2011):
“Joy In Repetition”
“Brown Skin” (India.Arie cover)
“Theme From Which Way Is Up” (Stargard cover)
“What Have You Done For Me Lately” (Janet Jackson cover)
“Make You Feel My Love” (Bob Dylan cover)
“Misty Blue” (Eddy Arnold cover)
“Let’s Go Crazy”
“Little Red Corvette”
“The Bird” (The Time cover – Prince composition)
“Jungle Love” (The Time cover – Prince composition)
“A Love Bizarre” (Sheila E. cover – Prince composition)
“Play That Funky Music” (Wild Cherry cover)
“Inglewood Swinging” (cover of Kool & the Gang’s “Hollywood Swinging”)