Personnel includes: Prince (vocals, various instruments); Rosie Gaines, Chante Moore, Kate Bush (vocals); Scrap D. (rap vocals); K Dyson (guitar); Eric Leeds (horns); Ricky Peterson (piano, keyboards); Rhonda S. (bass); Mayte (background vocals); New Power Generation.
Recorded at Paisley Park Studios, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Personnel: Prince (vocals); D.K. Dyson (vocals, guitar); Kathleen Bradford, Kate Bush, Rosie Gaines, Rhonda Johnson, Chant Moore (vocals); Eric Leeds (tenor, flute, baritone saxophone, horns); Mike Scott (guitar); Walter Chancellor, Jr. (saxophone); Dave Jensen , Steve Strand, Kathy Jensen, Brian Gallagher, Brian Lynch (horns); Ricky Peterson (piano, keyboards); Kirk Johnson (synthesizer, drums, programming); Joe Galdo, Cesar Sogbe (programming); Mayte (background vocals).
Recording information: Minneapolis, MN; Paisley Park Studios.
Photographers: Randee Saint Nicholas; Jeff Katz.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Sonny T.; Michael Bland ; Savion Glover; Tommy Barbarella; Morris Hayes.
Arrangers: Kirk Johnson; Prince.
EMANCIPATION is Prince's 3-disc declaration of independence from Warner Brothers Records. The artist ammassed reams of new material in anticipation of his "emancipation" from his former label and the creation of his own imprint, NPG Records. His first release for NPG (and, amazingly, his third album of 1996, if you include his soundtrack to Spike Lee's GIRL 6) is a tour-de-force that showcases the breadth and depth of his talents as a composer, vocalist, musician and producer. As usual, the predominant themes are sex and love, the places where they disconnect and the places where they intertwine. "Friend, Lover, Sister, Mother/Wife" and "Let's Have A Baby" are evocations of Prince's newfound domestic bliss. "Sex In The Summer" and "Joint 2 Joint" are lasciviously funky tunes that find the bard of the bedroom solidly in his element.
On a 3-disc set, even the prolific Prince can find room for a few covers. The soul gems "Betcha By Golly Wow!" (originally by the Stylistics) and "La, La, La Means I Love You" (the Delfonics) both benefit from a ride on the Paisley Park merry-go-round. More unexpected is the gorgeous treatment of Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make U Love Me" and a slightly skewed cover of Joan Osborne's 1996 hit "One Of Us."
Spin (2/97, p.85) - 7 (out of 10) - "...Love has renewed the musical wit and weird imagination that's always made [Prince] a singular creature. A few songs here might even make the all-time [Prince] mix tape..."
Entertainment Weekly (12/13/96, p.82) - "...this three-hour, triple-CD set is somewhat less than the wall-to-wall tour de force our man no doubt envisioned. Which isn't to say that there's not easily, oh, an hour's worth of top shelf material here..." - Rating: B
The Source (2/97, p.86) - "...The artist was always many things to many people...EMANCIPATION's 36 tracks explore all the identities..."
Musician (3/97, pp.88-90) - "...an operatic depiction of the conflict (or rather, the confluence) between his spiritual quest and his sensual longings and a streetwise expression of indignation as he strives to project and protect his vision....an amazing range of musical styles..."
Village Voice (2/25/97) - Ranked #16 in the Village Voice's 1996 Pazz & Jop Critics' Poll.