It seems that after the heart-wrenching news of Prince’s death, there have been a mix of heartfelt, humorous, classic, and bandwagon praises being swirled about the name of Prince. An endless tribute transformed our national narrative in a matter of hours. This came about through memes, shared articles and anecdotes, Twitter dialogue, an Instagram collage under the hashtag of “Prince,” tribute performances that attempted to capture his legacy, and purple becoming ubiquitous.

In another personal testament to the legend of Prince, Questlove pens a list on an Instagram post that, bullet-by-bullet depicts an astounding image of the essence that persists as Prince. Call it an unintentional and augmented pointillism if you will, the only vocabulary by which any and all tributes should pull from, a character sketch in 40 vignettes – if you will, or a genuine “definition offering” to the social legacy the nation is drafting about Prince – this list will have you nodding your head almost as eagerly as you did/ do to “Purple Rain” or “Kiss.”

Kevin Winter -Getty Images

The Source dedicated an issue to Prince, and triggered the Roots drummer to type out an effortlessly humorous and concise Instagram tribute to Prince following his intense Rolling Stone essay, anecdote with Jimmy Fallon, and involvement with the Billboard Awards’ Prince tribute.

Below is his list of 40 reasons why Prince was a “Hip-Hop Pioneer” from his Instagram post:

  1. came from troubled home
  2. limited access to music forces him to create his own world of music
  3. Overcame Poverty
  4. creates fictional background tales to keep the press guessing
  5. lives by the DIY creed
  6. takes fashion taboos & makes them mainstream and acceptable
  7. cock blocks & steals yo lady on the low (ask Rick)
  8. put his crew on—get them deals and make them stars
  9. pretty much wrote the book on getting some better than any of his contemporaries
  10. had beef w his peers who hated on him May 30
  11. invented the remix (not disco edits, but reimagining the album version)
  12. played mystery card—let us think what we wanted—gave press middle finger
  13. ghostwrote for everyone
  14. used mad aliases
  15. refused 2 b ordinary & eschewed the proper English language as a ways 2 communicate
  16. knew the B side wins again and again
  17. used the exotic to his advantage
  18. used his music to give his views on the po po, politicians, gun control, war, god, squares, & “the man”
  19. turned a long music video into a revolution
  20. best drum machine programmer ever
  21. used synthesizers as a way of life
  22. could make an entire album in less than a week
  23. balled so hard in Paris and other parts of France— so he made a film about it.
  24. cut his crew off and got a new crew.
  25. went all hippie like it was nothing.
  26. made dis records
  27. never wifed em, mostly replaced em
  28. started his own label
  29. Parental Advisory was invested because of him
  30. made a Black Album w a chip on his shoulder to prove to black people he was still bad.
  31. plays sports better than u
  32. had mad songs in the stash
  33. had an MTV mansion/ compound long before anyone did
  34. changed looks constantly
  35. dropped music on the net in record time
  36. looked out for his peeps on the low doing benefits and raising money like a modern day Robin Hood
  37. tries taking on the man for his complete freedom
  38. couldn’t tell him NOTHING
  39. always escaped into thin air
  40. left us way too early #PrinceRogersNelson #HipHopPioneer. @TheSource.


L’Etage could not agree more with Questlove. Peep the Roots drummer’s instantly iconic Instagram post below:


About The Author

Christell Victoria Roach is a writer born and raised in Miami, Florida. Christell loves jazz in its written, and performance forms, travels as a spoken word artist. She is alumnus of Young Arts (Poetry), TIgertail WordSpeak, CityWrights, and the Spoken Soul Festival. Her work has been published in Figment Literary Magazine, Dog Eat Crow Magazine, Rattle Literary Magazine, the Postscript Journal, the Lyric Literary Magazine, on television and radio broadcasts and in various other online and print magazines and journals.

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