In the late 1990s, newly liberated from the contracts of any major label contracts, Prince dreamed of providing a place where the artists he admired could record new music and release it on their own terms. NPG Records was formed in 1993, and by the end of the decade he was using it to showcase two high-profile funk acts who deeply inspired Prince: innovative bassist Larry Graham and the powerhouse vocalist Chaka Khan.
Prince and Chaka Khan first met all the way back in 1977, when a playful young Prince was in Sausalito, California recording his debut album, For You, at the Record Plant. “I tricked her into coming down to the studio. I imitiated Sly Stone and she was looking for him, then she met me," he revealed two decades later in an interview with the Philadelphia Daily News. “I was so in awe of her I couldn’t speak, so she listened to me play for a little while, then she left.”
The funny encounter clearly made a lasting impression on Chaka. In 1984, she would cover the song "I Feel For You" from Prince's second album, Prince, and turn it into a Grammy-winning top 10 hit. And in the late '90s, when she was experiencing her own frustrations with her major label, Prince invited her to collaborate on their first full-length project together and release the results, Come 2 My House, on NPG Records.
She’s free now, free to release as many new songs as she likes. And man, what a voice. One of the pleasures of my life is being able to work with some of my musical heroes, and in doing so pay back some dues and have a great time.”
Prince, Guitar World, 1998
Larry Graham makes an appearance on Come 2 My House, as do many of the musicians who were performing in the NPG in the late '90s — and to deepen the connection to her new collaborators, the album included covers of a Prince song, "Don't Talk 2 Strangers," and a classic 1974 song by Graham Central Station, "Hair."
Prince, Chaka Khan, and Larry Graham would embark on the New Power Soul Festival Tour to promote their trio of new albums on NPG Records — which also included Graham Central Station's GCS 2000 and the New Power Generation's Newpower Soul — performing dates across the U.S. and Europe.
Musically, I like to think that God provided me with a kindred spirit for me to actually work with, and to get to know and love for a short while.”
Chaka Khan, Associated Press, 2016
Come 2 My House Album Credits
Chaka Khan vocals Prince guitar, vocals Robert D. Palmer vocals Kirk Johnson vocals Queen Latifah rap vocals Walter Chancellor, Jr. saxophone The Hornheadz (Michael B. Nelson, Kathy Jensen, Dave Jensen, Brian Gallagher, Steve Strand) horns Ricky Peterson keyboards Larry Graham bass guitar, vocals Rhonda Smith bass Michael Bland drums Mayte Garcia finger cymbals Brother Jules scratches Chanté Moore vocals