By JASON NEWMAN @rollingstone
May 5, 2014 12:15 PM ET
Just because Prince reached a new agreement with Warner Bros. doesn’t mean he’s softened on his criticism of the music industry or record label structure.
In a new cover story with Essence, the multi-hyphenate musician lambasts the top brass at record labels. “Every time I talk to the heads of large companies, they’re always at the beach,” said Prince. “Middle of the afternoon. What are you doing? ‘Oh, I’m at the beach with my kids.’ So we’re working to send their kids to college. And to the beach. We’re not supposed to accept that.”
The comments come two weeks after the singer came to an agreement with Warner Bros. to release previously unheard material and a digitally remastered deluxe edition of the soundtrack to 1984’s Purple Rain. “The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed,” said the label, though Prince now has ownership and control over the master recordings of his Warner Bros. catalog.
“A brand new studio album is on the way and both Warner Bros. Records and Eye are quite pleased with the results of the negotiations and look forward to a fruitful working relationship,” Prince said in a statement.
In 1992, Prince signed a lucrative deal with Warner Bros., but their relationship suffered when the label would not put out his music at the pace he wanted. After the singer wrote “Slave” on his face one year later, Warner Bros. ended its distribution deal with Prince’s Paisley Park imprint, but would continue to release albums from Prince.
The musician also channeled Abraham Lincoln’s “team of rivals” in his Essence interview. The singer helped launch #YesWeCode, a new initiative aimed at encouraging young people to use technology and creativity to code and discussed the need to work with your rivals. “When I met with the kids, I told them: If you want to be great, get a sidekick,” the singer said. “Whoever’s your greatest rival, whoever you’re most afraid of, put them in your band. You’ll push each other. And then once your sidekick gets a sidekick, things will change.”
Prince is set to headline the upcoming Essence Festival on Friday, July 4th at New Orleans’ Superdome. Nas, Janelle Monae, Nile Rodgers, Lionel Richie, The Roots and Erykah Badu are all also scheduled to perform.