Church In The Wild: D’Angelo, John Mayer & The Roots Held Service At Day 1 Of Roots Picnic NY

Photo by Vickey Ford (Sneakshot) for Okayplayer

As our resident Prince aficionado, Questlove has spoiled us with personal reflections on The Purple One’s genius, even handing over an album-by-album review of the unfuckwitable Warner Bros. catalog. Nearly a year has passed since the icon’s tragic death, but it’s safe to say that we can forever count on El Capitan to chime in with some impromptu geeking. Case in point: this morning Questo launched into his memory banks upon realizing that Prince’s classic 1987 album Sign O The Times was creeping up on its 30th anniversary (technically tomorrow, March 31st.)

Naturally, Questo was compelled to hit the gram with one of his patented purple nerd-outs, speaking to the much-debated parameters of the “genius period,” honing in on the meat of the generally-accepted 1978-1988 bookends to be 1982-1987, where we could be found churning out his own work at an alarming annual rate, as well helming hits for The Time, Sheila E., Vanity 6, Apollonia and others.

Read Questlove’s little love letter to Prince’s Sign O The Times below.

there will be no high like the high music fans felt when Prince was releasing magic every year like it was chewing gum. he made it look THAT easy. i feel some sort of way about Sign O The Times. I’m one of those spoiled cats that appreciate his output. but i also cap “the genius period” from 78-88 (and if you REALLY wanna get to the zone, i say 1982-1987 were the core years in the magic 10)— #SignOTheTimes was essentially a catalog album showing a collection of his range and perfect songwriting, pop craftsmanship. ace musicianship, and just plain weirdo magic. this would mark the last time Prince’s music would shock and surprise me. not to be mistaken for “the last time Prince made music i cared about” or “his last good album”—most artists get 2 albums to blow our minds before they start coasting on autopilot. the fact that Prince has 12-14 albums worth of grade A material is a miracle (dont forget his prolific pen game on Sheila E., Vanity/Apollonia 6, The Time/The Family & Jill Jones projects) each album making you “WHOA!” more than the last time. this is Jordan winning 6 rings on The Bulls. This is Curry shooting 8 3pt shots in a row from half court. i can’t come up with a more explosive definition of why on its 30th anniversary, Sign O’ The Times is just as magic today is it ALWAYS was. if you are in the “what’s the big deal?” zone. brush up on your history. songwriting and arranging is a dangerous game. you gotta be effective. hit bullseye. be original. shocking, digestible, and 14 other things i haven’t mentioned. if you are a @prince newbie i say start from the top w 78’s For You and move forward. or the very end and work backwards. this way you get the full scope of his range. it doesn’t get any better than this. Happy 30th Anniversary #SignOTheTimes

A post shared by Questlove Gomez (@questlove) on


  • jjazznola

    has 12-14 albums worth of grade A material? I’m a huge fan since Dirty
    Mind but I totally disagree with that statement unless he meant a grade A
    song here and there.

    • I’ve been a huge fan since 79 and I’d say it’s more than 14

    • jjazznola

      Quickly skimming over all of his albums and I would say that around 12 contain some to mostly A material. And as any collector knows there are at least a few more albums worth of great songs. I have always preferred his live material though although not the live albums that he released.

    • Gary

      That’s a fair assessment. Personally I’d say about 17 were A material. But I’m a little obsessive lol. And I agree, his unreleased live stuff is where you find some of his best work.

  • Alwaysbe Mature

    I always felt this album was just 1 of his greatest….for me he never released anything but the best….the critics always tried to put him in there perspective of his music instead of just listening and taking his word for it…read some of the reviews of his albums and if you can find old articles what prince would say in return…prince was very blunt in his music politics sex relationships…when you record Songs like sign o the times, head, sexy mf, your talking about something else. This album is one my favorites because I’m always listening to the later half of it to this day