TODAY   |  March 18, 2013

Author Toure: Prince’s music is ‘perpetual’

Between 1980 and ’99, Prince had more songs on the Billboard Hot 100 chart than any other artist. MSNBC’s Toure talks about his new book, “I Would Die 4 U,” which explores the mix of sexuality and spirituality that made Prince famous.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> that of course is "let's go crazy" one of the millimeter hits by prince from his iconic purple rain album. prince had more songs on the billboard 100 charts than any other artist.

>> he's known for pushing sexual bound rice. many of his hits are held in deeply held religious beliefs.

>> his new book "i would die 4 u." good morning.

>> good morning.

>> he's 54 years old. which generation does he relate to the most? he just closed out the south by southwest festival . a room filled by many young people .

>> he's a baby boomer . when he blew up in the late '70s, in the '80s he was talking to generation x . he was singing messages that generation x wanted to hear. talking about apocalypse. being part of a divorced family which he was part of. all those things he's connect, he's the sound track of our lives.

>> you say this is not a biography but a deconstruction of prince.

>> we go through his life. i talked to people who knew him as a child and as a young man. we go through his music and explain what these songs mean. talking about the song " purple rain " which i didn't fully understood until i dug into it.

>> it's about a baptism.

>> in the last first he goes into the baptismal message i'm the one, i'm your spiritual leader. rain is a baptismal symbol. it's somebody who is dying and ending their relationship and they want to be object solved. when you end a relationship you feel bad he'll baptize you.

>> you say prince carefully cultivated that controversial sexual effect he had. there was question whether he was gay or straight. that was all part of his thing.

>> yeah. he's playing with genders. you're talk about. he's playing with race. said his mother was white. his mother of not while. we know his mother was black. it was exotic and cool to see the mix. it took him out of a box. it was so '80s, multiculturalism. prince did it with gender and with race and tried to say who am i? i'm anything and you can be anything you want to.

>> tell me about this basketball match-up at his house in minnesota. you go there. did his guard come down at all?

>> yes. we played one on one for about 20rks 30 minutes .

>> who won, need are of us were good shots so, you know, there's a tie maybe of 2-2 tie sort of thing. it was just to men, two brothers playing basketball together. the mask came off. it was like playing with a normal dude and talked a little trash to each other. we just had fun. as soon as we finished the mask went back on. while we were playing he's like scoop neck , bell bottoms , then nike air force what -- he's a natural.

>> jason was talking about him closing out the south by southwest . are we seeing a come back for prince? he's on "saturday night live"?

>> i don't know. we'll see. he has a song out "screwdriver" that people like. "let's go crazy," 1999 " purple rain ." will he come back now with some new thing that blows everybody aa? i don't know. we'll see. but it's great to live in that old music and revel it is.

>> too confusing.

>> that was meant to sort of confuse and be part of the mystery and break away from the record company. if you called him prince then he was always comfortable with that. that's what happened when we played basketball. i passed the ball to him. he didn't know it was