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”
- “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”
* Soul Asylum cover
Welcome 2 America (Live at The Forum, April 28, 2011):
- “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)
- “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 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”)
- “Fantastic Voyage” (Lakeside cover)
- “More Than This” (Roxy Music cover)