Prince – Welcome 2 America: Review

When word spread of a non-collection of demos and records from Prince’s vault, the world felt a sigh of relief to receive new music without fearing for a producer’s intervention. We heard that this album, Welcome 2 America, was one that Prince had shelved after its recording. And after some rough years with tragic releases that undercut artists’ legacies, like Michael Jackson and Pop Smoke, there were worries that this new album could potentially deliver something similar. However, that isn’t the case. Welcome 2 America is this groovy-funkadelic soul journey that takes through histrionics of culture’s control in society.

Most of Welcome 2 America reminds us of what we’ve been missing over the last half-decade. Prince has had a presence everywhere, despite minimal hiccups within some of the instrumentations. There isn’t a moment where the music feels fully dated. He speaks on the influence social media and the internet have on creating biased opinions. But it isn’t like Prince is equating to the meme – The Simpsons Predicting Things. Instead, Prince has a keen eye on the stimulation consistent backslaps from the judicial system, and more can create amongst a crowd. 2020 was a testament to that momentous uproar amongst the community.

Before the start of Prince’s Welcome 2 America tour, his band accompanied him in the studio to record some music, particularly about the social-political climate in America and more. He distinguishes the rights of one and the view imparted on them based on blind societal construction. In the opening song, Prince delivers in spoken-word / singing hybrid delivers this wide range of ideas that flowed through his head as he saw the world progress. It continues to elevate throughout the album, taking away aspects of the dance movements for electrifying emphasis on the songwriting.

This is effervescent on the songs “Same Page, Different Book” and “Running Game (Son Of A Slave Master),” which breaths onto life’s recurring redundancies. It speaks on the changes needed as these redundancies become a more glaring issue. It finds ways to fix a community presence to keep the attention of the listener through the instrumentations.

Prince has had a consistent procession with rockabilly sensibilities behind his various eras, from disco to funkadelic power-rock and others. It isn’t missing here as Prince takes us back to a moment where this sound rang supreme for him. So there will be an urge to groove to the rhythm, despite the deep meaning in the songwriting. For example, In the song “Born 2 Die,” Prince creates a parallel to living-free as he speaks about the dangers that could kill a character, like external temptations. Prince approaches these subjects carefully to create the right atmosphere amongst the collection of tracks. It makes the transition between songs that bring out a two-step and ones that bring out your inner beret-wearing-coffee-drinker sensibilities (musically). 

The songs that follow a similar path to “Born 2 Die” come across with beautiful bravado. “Yes” and “Hot Summer,” in particular, are these breaths of fresh air with commanding gospels that create unison from those who dance around with glee. It stems from a looser sensibility that comes from an elongated sunset and calming weather of the summer. “Yes” gets you up on two feet as you rejoice with the band in this unified mix of glee and happiness that stem from trying and seeing new pastures.

Unlike “Yes,” “Hot Summer” is a delicate summer fling that doesn’t boast the tracks around it. Others feel part of a bigger collective, while this feels too focused on being a summer anthem. From the infectious percussion and harmonies by Prince and his band, this small stoppage gap delivers behind Prince’s strengths. It’s a highlight from the album that isn’t fully there. To its merit, one could easily find themselves grooving to this on any given day or whenever your focus isn’t to play this from start to finish.

These transfer over to other songs like “1000 Light Years From Here.” This song contrasts themes with the instrumentations. It blends lively sounds with serious songwriting that speak about the prototypical American Dream. For some, it is a true dream that becomes a reach, while others create their own far from the gravitational center of society. 

The songs that fluctuate instrumentally around similar sentiments are usually the best. One of my favorites songs on the album, “Stand Up And B Strong,” delivers on all cylinders. It builds momentum by fueling the internal desire to feel heard and capitalize on unified strengths. Like on “Yes,” there is an overwhelming sense of wanting happiness and determination that brings us closer together. 

There aren’t many songs that feel minimally off. But there is a reason Welcome 2 America got shelved in 2011. It isn’t perfect, and the humility it adds to Prince as a musician leaves you feeling comfortable and warm about its perception later down the road. Welcome 2 America takes itself seriously and is vibrant enough that most will enjoy the many songs on this, while others may feel lukewarm – understandably so. This album is fun and a nice relic of the past; however, it would have been understandable if it remained shelved.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

5 of the Best Super Bowl HalfTime Performances of The Last 20 Years

Most sports eclipse through the year, though they are considered for the year in which the season started. So for Football, teams play into January for its regular season. But it works as it allows for momentum to build for the gladiator fights of the modern times in what is the Super Bowl. As we reach the winner for the 2020 season, let us remember in the time honored and more culturally relevant HalfTime Show Performances of the last 20 years. And what better way to do so than by making a list where in the end it is a competition because after viewing hours of performances, I believe I have come up with 5 of the best – overall performances.

But first some honorable mentions.

Honorable Mentions

Madonna and Cee-Lo 

What can I say that doesn’t involve nostalgia glasses taking mold for this. I wasn’t alive for the height of these songs, but as a child of adult contemporary music Madonna was a definitive name in my own zeitgeist. So when she brought out Cee-Lo Green to perform the last three numbers, but nothing as significant as the harmonizations brought about in “Like A Prayer.”

Beyonce and Bruno Mars Steal the Show from ColdPlay

Most HalfTime shows seen have been predominantly closer to night allowing a bigger spectacle of colors and screens. And as colorful as their concerts have been, this is a different beast to tame. Unfortunately the beast tamed them and the performance was extremely forgettable, except for one moment that saved it. Beyonce and Bruno Mars bring show stopping performances by having contrasting choreography and then implementing that into a B-Boy like battle for the ages.

Katy Perry’s Intro

This highlight speaks more through visuals and than the hooting and applause you’ll receive from me.

The List

Jennifer Lopez & Shakira

This performance benefits from multiple factors like area demographics. But what do you expect when you get two Latin MegaStars in the heart of Miami. 

Unlike previous performances this goes over to the 15 mark as both artists bombard us with a plethora of hits that keep the vibes going. Shakira takes a trip backwards through her hits as Jennifer Lopez takes us forward from the beginning. They don’t shy away from the music that predates their upward trending Latin-Electro Pop sound of the past decade. When you see Shakira rocking that guitar solo and backing up Jennifer Lopez on the drums are all great surprises full of glee.

The elegance of the show comes from the choreography since the Latin community has enormous pride in dancing with influential styles deriving from the music of their culture like Salsa, Tango, and Cumbia. 

And benefitting all that is special guest appearances from two Latin Superstars in Bad Bunny and J Balvin that bring much needed flair for their younger crowds.

Lady GaGa

Despite the obvious looking wires holding her as she descends and performs/dances at tremendous heights, or rather tremendous for this guy, Lady GaGa opens her performance with cadence and monstrous momentum as she really gets the party going when “Born This Way” is performed. 

The very ARTPOP-like choreography and decoration makes the performance shine and standout. If not for curiosity, but also for the quaff attention to detail as she transitions from tracks that at times contrast each other. It leaves you in awe how she goes from shredding on the keytar to rocking a piano and delivering a beautiful rendition of “Million Reasons.” 

Her performance is one of the more formidably memorable ones. 

PS: Look at the girl she hugs near the end… your heart strings will be plucked hard. 


If there is any knock against this performance is the audio levels or the possible inflection of voice that Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams have as Beyonce brings them to perform two hits from the Destiny’s Child era. 

Almost everything about this performance is perfect, from the choreography to Beyonce’s hypnotic and powerful voice. But as it is with multiple trends in these HalfTime shows is the inclusion of a ballad-like number to unify the audience before the beefy and burly men tackle each other for glory and rings.

The Destiny’s Child performances play off nostalgia with modesty and ferocity. It definitely got all the boys hollering… sorry Kelis.


What makes this iconic? It could be that the set list was primarily 80s era Prince where the fiery funkadelic guitar took the radio waves by storm. Or it could be that he implemented that with some sick covers all the while rain downpour on him and the band throughout the performance. It was electrifying to say the least. He commanded a crowd and did it on his own terms by keeping as close to his aesthetic as possible.

He opens the performance to the momentum builder “Let’s Go Crazy,” and closes with the beautiful ballad “Purple Rain.” But as the performance goes from point a to point b there has to be something for them to fill in between. And Prince definitely knew how to do it. He weaved these amazing melodies of his songs with others to create smooth and beautiful transitions like going from “Baby I’m A Star” to “Proud Mary.” 

Man, I could gush and gush about this for days, but it is best if you witness it for yourself.


I was only seven years old when the towers fell on September 11th. I didn’t understand then, but understanding now shows how uproarious and unifying U2’s performance was in relation to the time. 

Their performance came at a peak, at both the careers of U2 and the NFLs attempt to keep themes relevant. U2 was not particularly the type of showstoppers we have today, but at the time the trend in music made them that. It was unconventional to say the least and they took full advantage of the opportunity.

It opens to a mind altering performance of “Beautiful Day” where reality isn’t within feet or inches in front of us and we can just escape. And it ends with a powerful rendition of their 1987 hit, “Where The Streets Have No Name,” on a heart shaped stage all the while a list of all the people we lost on the tragic event of 9/11 scrolls. In a way it made us feel pride and triumphant as we are able to continue to see the light despite tragic loss. Sports as a whole allowed us to see that and U2 added to that.