The song was originally only played once on Prince’s 52nd birthday, June 7th, 2010, with the singer debuting the track on Minnesota public radio station the Current before it reentered Prince’s vaults after that one-time airing.
“Hot Summer” premiered following a heatwave that swept through Minnesota that year, and the track was inspired by the weather as well as classic beach soundtracks and the West Coast pop sound of the Sixties but with an Eighties New Wave flair.
As collaborator Elisa Fiorillo told Rolling Stone in our recent oral history of Welcome 2 America, “I remember ‘Hot Summer,’ this kind of weird Eighties dance song. It was summer when we did it. We got in the car and drove downtown to Minneapolis in his car with the windows rolled down. We were listening on full blast with our heads bobbing at the same time. There were people on the street, and we’re saying to Prince, ‘Oh, my God, they’re going to know it’s you.’ And some people could see and pointed as we drove right fast, like, ‘I think that was Prince!.’”
Welcome 2 America, out July 30th, was recorded and ultimately shelved by Prince in 2010 and 2011; the estate has previously shared the spoken-word title track and “Born 2 Die” from the mostly politically minded LP.
As for why Prince shelved the album, Fiorillo told Rolling Stone, “I don’t think [Prince] was unhappy with it. He would get wrapped up in something new and forget he even created something else. And then he would go tour and probably forget about it. He probably was eventually going to get to it and dust off some stuff and remix some of it and maybe add a couple more parts or add more musicians and eventually put it out. I’m pretty sure he would have. But I don’t think he was disappointed with it.”