Fans and friends of Prince gathered in Los Angeles on Thursday night to celebrate the release of Originals, an album of 15 demos handpicked by Jay-Z and Troy Carter on behalf of the Prince Estate, available exclusively on Tidal today. The event, hosted by Van Jones, Dave Chappelle and Questlove of The Roots, was held at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills.
In a purple-lit room, the hosts waxed poetically about their relationship with the Purple One, while guests had a chance to preview the unreleased demos. Originals is made up of 15 songs Prince originally recorded before being created by his favorite artists that include, “Manic Monday” (The Bangles), “Nothing Compares 2 U” (The Family/Sinéad O’Connor), and “The Glamorous Life” (Sheila E.).
Jones recounted stories about Prince being a connector of people and spoke about his philanthropic endeavors. At one point during the night, Jones mentioned that Prince donated a sizable amount of money to Trayvon Martin’s parents anonymously, and it wasn’t disclosed that the money came from Prince until the day after he died.
In one of the most hilarious moments of the night, Chappelle spoke about the wildly popular Prince sketch from The Chappelle Show.
“We called Prince up and asked if he’d be interested in appearing the sketch and he was like ‘Noooo.’ As fate would have it, we ended up doing the sketch anyway. The sketch came out a week before he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and he loved it,” Chappelle said.
Being that Prince’s birthday is on June 7, it was apropos for the album to be released at the stroke of midnight today.
Jay spoke about the impact Prince had on the music industry and its future in a statement.
“Prince led the way, for artistic freedom, for ownership. He’s one of the bravest people I can think of in the industry,” Jay-Z said. “He trusted us, not just me, but Tidal, to continue his fight. Trying to help further that legacy through his music is an honor we couldn’t pass up as an organization dedicated to empowering artists. This gives his true fans that peek behind the curtain.”
As fans celebrate Prince’s birthday, there’s one thing that remains: nothing compares to him.
To listen to Originals, head over to Tidal.