The words “New Power Soul” have a long history in Prince’s work, with that phrase appearing in his lyrics as early as 1988 in the song “Alphabet St.” and resurfacing in songs like “Batdance” and 1992’s “Love 2 the 9’s.” So what is it? In the funky title track for his 1998 album with the New Power Generation, Newpower Soul, Prince spells it out: It’s a chance to come together, dance, and get down to a fresh new sound. “Love 4 one another rising,” he sings, “New Power Soul is HERE!”
I just want it more to be like the old days, you know: it’s about the book, not the quote. In the old days, you used to buy an album, not a single. I want my records to work as a whole, not a collection of unconnected little bits.”
Prince, Guitar World, 1998
Although the album is solely credited to the New Power Generation, it was primarily recorded by Prince and was supported with a massive New Power Soul tour, which kept Prince and his band on the road playing arenas and festival dates for most of 1998. At this time Prince was performing backed by a version of the NPG that included bassist Rhonda Smith, keyboardist Morris Hays, guitarist Mike Scott, drummer Kirk Johnson, and backing vocalist Marva King. They were joined on tour by two artists who were deeply influential to Prince and who had each just recorded projects for Prince’s NPG Records label, the funk icons Larry Graham and Chaka Khan.
Newpower Soul climbed to number 22 on the Billboard Top 200 and number 8 on the Billboard R&B Albums chart, a feat made all the more remarkable because it was released only three months after the mammoth five-disc set Crystal Ball.
The album that everyone's been waiting a long, long time for. An album that's funky. An album that's accessible. An album that's sexy.”
Jason Ferguson, MTV, 1998
Newpower Soul Album Credits
Prince all vocals and instruments Kirk Johnson drums, drum and synth programs Kat Dyson guitar Rhonda Smith bass guitar Mr. Hayes keyboards, background vocals Rev. Scott rhythm guitar Hornheadz (Kathy Jensen, Steve Strand, Dave Jensen, Michael B. Nelson, Brian Gallagher) horns Pierre Baptiste horns Clark Gayton horns Wayne DuMain horns NPG Orchestra orchestra Larry Graham vocals Chaka Khan vocals Marva King vocals Doug E. Fresh rap DJ Brother Jules scratches