Janelle Monáe on how “free ass motherf***er” Prince shaped the sound of ‘Dirty Computer’

"He was a free ass motherf*****".

Janelle Monae has opened up on how Prince influenced the sound of third album ‘Dirty Computer’, after she previously worked and duetted with the late music icon.

The record was released last Friday to a string of glowing reviews – including an effusive five star verdict from NME.

Speaking to Beats 1’s Ebro Darden, Monae explained how Prince had been a guiding light on the record, after he took the time to listen to 2010 debut ‘The ArchAngel’.

“There’s only one Prince and there will never be another. I had the opportunity to be inspired by Prince like the rest of the world growing up. In fact, I used to be terrified of Prince. I could not watch his videos. I had a dream that he chased me in a purple suit”, she explained.

” It was something about watching this black man, I’d never seen a black man express himself like that, and it scared me. You know I don’t know if it was because maybe I hadn’t been comfortable with tapping into my fearlessness…it’s just like you got the sense that he was a free ass motherf*****, right? And I don’t know if I was ready to tap into my free as motherf***** nature, but I think what I love most is that I got the opportunity to get to know the man who everybody looked at as this mysterious, other-worldly being. You know I did get the opportunity to perform onstage with him”

“In fact, I gave him the first copy of my first album. I gave it to him at Paisley Park, and I got a chance to see that he was such a philanthropic person”, she added.

“Like he gave, and he didn’t want people to know what he gave. And he’s given a lot to me. Any way that I can honour him, and just remind this generation of how much he paved the way for artists like myself. I mean, there were times that when I ever felt confused on what direction I should take, or if my ideas were too big for the music industry…I knew that was the one person who understood where I was trying to go.”

NME’s official verdict likened Monae’s sound to Prince, but stressing that she “creates a world of her own”.

“Throwing in rap, soul, pop, R&B, space-rock and whatever the hell she wants with her fearless message, Janelle Monáe doesn’t believe in walls or limits: this is a fluid celebration of freedom, raging and raving against the oppressors. In fact, only one label sticks – icon.”