Prince will perform at his special Rally 4 Peace event Sunday night in Baltimore, and before he takes the stage, the rocker unveiled his protest song “Baltimore.” Prince dropped his new track, inspired by the death of Freddie Gray and the ensuing riots in the Maryland city, on SoundCloud along with a detailed description on how the “Baltimore” recording transpired.
The protest song was recorded April 30th at Paisley Park Studios with Prince playing all the instruments. The surprisingly upbeat music on “Baltimore” is paired with contemplative lyrics that find Prince singing, “Nobody got in nobody’s way / So I guess you could say it was a good day / At least a little better than the day in Baltimore.” The Purple Rain star is even more pointed in his second verse as he sings, “Does anybody hear us pray? / For Michael Brown or Freddie Gray / Peace is more than the absence of war.”
The song’s infectious melody is also juxtaposed with protest-inspired chants of “If there ain’t no justice then there ain’t no peace!” “Baltimore” closes out with Prince delivering a mournful yet ascending guitar solo backed by singer Eryn Allen Kane, who “graciously flew in on a moment’s notice and graced the track with her angelic presence,” according to the song’s SoundCloud description.
Speaking to My Fox Twin Cities after a Paisley Park jam session ended with the recording of “Baltimore,” Prince revealed that the Freddie Gray situation compacted with rumors regarding Joni Mitchell’s health – the singer-songwriter had a huge influence on Prince – weighed heavily on the rocker as he wrote the track. “With everything going on there this week, I had a lot I needed to get out,” Prince said.
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Prince’s Rally 4 Peace benefit concert from Baltimore’s Royal Farms Arena will stream its audio live on Jay Z’s Tidal service on Mother’s Day. Along with the stream, Tidal will match any donations made through their website, with proceeds benefitting Baltimore youth charities.