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Questlove pens a dedication to Prince that will have you in your feels

"Prince was like nothing else, and...he was everything"

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For many, the all too recent loss of the legendary Prince has left thousands of broken hearts. Questlove, the Roots leader, has written out his own dedication for his idol Prince for Rolling Stone.

The 45-year-old multi-instrumentalist opens up about the profound influence the late singer had over his life. In many cases, the relationship fans made with Prince was more personal than could be explained. As an artist, he opened up to his listeners, and in turn, they gave back a dedication that made such a powerful bond. For a young Questlove, it was such a relationship that changed his entire take on life.

The dedication definitely pulls on the heartstrings, and we’ve taken out a few bits of insight for you to ponder over in the list below. You can read the whole letter in its entirety here as well, so long as you have a box of tissues at your disposal.

R.I.P. Prince.

01. On his first album

My mom found the record and threw it away. Winter came. I shoveled snow until I had enough money to buy it a second time. That one went into the garbage, too. There was a third record that just vanished without a trace, and a fourth that got broken over my father’s knee. That fourth infraction came accompanied by a month of punishment. A little while after that, I got smarter, meaning sneakier. I found a friend to make me cassettes of Prince’s albums. At home, I loosened the heads of my drums and hid the contraband in there. I listened when I was practicing, playing something totally different on the drums so that my parents wouldn’t know what I was actually hearing.

02. On hip-hop

Prince’s relationship to hip-hop has been the subject of much scrutiny, and more than a little mockery. It’s commonplace to say that he couldn’t figure out rap music, and to point to the sometimes stilted appearances of rappers on his records in the early Nineties. But at heart, he was more hip-hop than anyone.

03. On his genius

I have always felt that the true mark of a genius is to look beyond the hits on their records to what people uncharitably call “the filler.” 1999, like Thriller, was all killer, no filler, but it was on the second side where the album really took wing. A song like “Something in the Water (Does Not Compute)” told me that Prince was not a regular person, or a regular musician. He had removed the bass from the original demo (at the time forbidden in black music, an innovation that would pay off even more powerfully on “When Doves Cry”), added a dizzying snare/hi-hat combination and delivered his vocals in a kind of ice-cold, almost robotic manner. It wasn’t just one new idea — it was several, all together; you knew from that song and the album tracks around it (“Automatic,” “Lady Cab Driver”) that he was going to be the new breed leader.

04. On Purple Rain

Then came Purple Rain, and the world changed. Before that, I kept my Prince obsession close to the vest. But the day after the video for “When Doves Cry” premiered, I was shocked to see that my secret was out. Everyone suddenly knew what I knew, which is that Prince was like nothing else, and that he was everything.

05. On loss

There’s so much we all don’t know. This is what I do know: Much of my motivation for waking up at 5 a.m. to work — and sometimes going to bed at 5 a.m. after work — came from him. Whenever it seemed like too steep a climb, I reminded myself that Prince did it, so I had to also. It was the only way to achieve that level of greatness (which was, of course, impossible, but that’s aspirational thinking for ya). For the last twenty years, whenever I was up at five in the morning, I knew that Prince was up too, somewhere, in a sense sharing a workspace with me. For the last few days, 5 a.m. has felt different. It’s just a lonely hour now, a cold time before the sun comes up.