I Would Die 4 U: Why Prince Became an Icon by Touré


In this book released by Touré in the year 2013, the author interacts with one of the biggest music sensations in the 1980s, Prince. He examines and explicitly dedicates his writings to exposing the spirit of Prince in his music career. This book is a must-read for anyone who has been moved by the second biggest Pop music icon after Michael Jackson, Prince.

Contrary to what it might be perceived as, however, there is a caveat that must inform the expectations readers have about this book in the sense that, it is not a typical biography, rather it is an in-depth examination of the events and values that created Prince and the ones he applied to make himself become the icon we know today. Touré’s storytelling gift of poetic prose makes this read as inspirational as the person of Prince is, making it a short but sweet read.

Organized in three parts, the first section of the book deals with Prince’s early life and how his relationship with his mother and father shaped him and his interests. In the second section,

Touré sheds light on the years in the 80s which Prince emerged from having created his image through finding himself in the hyper-sexualization of the age. The third section sheds a great deal of light on Prince’s life in religion and faith and the role it played in his career, however strangely the blend of sexuality and faith came across.

This account is a study of Prince, his career, his work ethic and acts as a short exposé about this musical icon and his contribution to pop culture. In many parts, it vividly exposes the genius that was Prince as an artist and his work ethic that was truly mind-blowing and rare. Chuck Zwicky, one of Prince’s music engineers is quoted in the Introduction to this book stating,

“He never spent an inordinate amount of time on one song. He’s got a very very clear idea in his head about a song and what it needs to do, what it needs to sound like and he could get through it very quickly. So typically, a session started with three written songs and ended with three completely mixed songs.” This book is a smooth and inspiring sail not only focusing on Prince’s work ethic creating music but also his cringe-worthy sense of style and some of the lyrics in his songs.

The author pays a lot of attention to the seemingly strange intersection between the two major themes inspiring Prince’s music, that is that of sexuality and faith at the same time, and he finds it fascinating to behold when he asks,

“Can we have both reverence for God and fulfill the rawest of carnal desires? Can the spiritual imperative and the lustful urge coexist in one soul?”. What Touré seeks is to portray Prince as is an icon for Generation X, whose mannerisms and music was not only relatable by this group of people but that also “spoke to the things we cared about, our desires, our fears, our longings, our anxieties…”

This book does not extensively cover the length and breadth of the work done by Prince, his singles, doubles, and triple albums which he so frequently released worth of music, but it is an entertaining, well researched and short compilation of Prince’s vast work that brings out the inalienable genius of Prince as an artist. It definitely deserves a place on the bookshelf alongside other biographies of Prince’s as it slightly casts a spotlight on the cultural figure he is to Americans but more importantly, opens his soul for all to see.

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