Friday, March 5, 2021

“Stare” by Prince

This sorely underrated track features one of the sickest bass lines in Prince’s oeuvre. The insanely funky groove showcases the late music legend’s tremendous bass skills. People often sleep on what a beast he was on the bass; and his thump-and-pluck game was fire. The track also boasts a fantastic horn arrangement with the New Power Generation’s talented horn section raining down bucketloads of pure funk. And His Royal Badness keeps the groove quotient high with his super-tight drumming. The lyrics are quintessential Prince, full of cheeky humor and double entendres. The track also contains references to a couple of his past songs, including a quick sample of the famous chicken-scratch guitar intro to his 1986 smash “Kiss.”


“Stare” was written by Prince, and he played all the instruments on the track except for the horn parts. The horn players on the track were Joey Rayfield (trombone), BK Jackson (baritone sax), Philip Lassiter (trumpet), Adrian Crutchfield (alto sax), Nick Marchione (trumpet),  Marcus Anderson (tenor sax), Lynn Grissett (trumpet), Keith Anderson (tenor sax), Steve Reid (trumpet), Sylvester Onyejiaka (baritone sax) and Roy Agee (trombone). Joey Rayfield, Lynn Grissett and Marcus Anderson put together the horn arrangement.


“Stare” was initially released as a standalone track on the music streaming service Tidal in September 2015. It was later included on Prince’s 39th and final studio album HitnRun Phase Two, which was released digitally on December 12, 2015 on NPG Records. It was also the artist’s last album to be released during his lifetime. The album was produced by Prince and the New Power Generation. The collection includes the protest song "Baltimore," which honors Freddie Gray, the young Baltimore resident who died while in police custody. 


HitnRun Phase Two finally received a worldwide CD release on May 6, 2016 through Universal Music Group. It peaked at #40 on Billboard 200 album chart and climbed all the way to #3 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip Hop album chart. The collection received generally positive reviews from critics. HitnRun Phase Two was a continuation of Prince’s album HitnRun Phase One, which was released on September 7, 2015.