Things Prince Rejected

Carl Williott | April 25, 2016 2:58 pm

In the days following Prince‘s death, his legacy and music has been celebrated (and sold) at every corner of the internet, with numerous outlets even changing their logos to purple. But as every piece of trivia and every bit of footage is dredged up, so too are anecdotes about things Prince didn’t do — similar to how David Bowie‘s death unearthed stories of collaboration requests he turned down.

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Prince was stubborn and selective when it came to maintaining his very specific aura, which led to rejected high-profile collabs and slam-dunk pop culture grabs that would never materialize. That discretion is part of his allure, and hearing about these what-could’ve-been cases only adds to the feeling of scarcity that made Prince so compelling long into the age of streaming and information overflow.

And so, here’s a quick rundown of things Prince rejected.

1. Kim Kardashian

Prince invited Kim up onto the stage to dance with him during a 2011 Madison Square Garden concert. But instead of dancing, she stood there giggling, so he coolly commands, “Get off the stage.”

2. A “Bad” cameo

Whose butt is whose?

3. A Simpsons cameo

The Simpsons staff was hoping to wrangle Prince for a cameo in the sequel to the Michael Jackson-featuring episode “Stark Raving Dad.” Conan O’Brien penned the script, but the Purple One ultimately opted out and the episode never happened.

4. “We Are The World”

The NY Post points out that Prince was “the lone major artist to refuse recording” charity song “We Are The World.” According to Let’s Go Crazy: Prince and the Making of Purple Rain, it was simply because “he felt like the song was horrible.”

5. A joint Madonna tour

Madge’s longtime manager Guy Oseary proposed a joint tour with Prince a few years ago, but the Purple One thought “the world isn’t ready for this, it’s too big.”

6. A role in The Fifth Element

The singer turned down the role of Ruby (ultimately played by Chris Tucker) because he couldn’t find time away from his tour to shoot, and because he wasn’t a fan of the costume concept art.

7. The Entire Kardashian Krew

Zooey Deschanel recently appeared on Conan and discussed the Prince episode, which apparently was supposed to feature a Kardashian cameo as well. She recounts Prince’s camp asking which celebrities would appear at his fictional party for the episode, saying they hope “it’s not a Kardashian.” At which point a PA destroyed all the scripts and call sheets mentioning the K-word.

8. A name

Whether it was to stick it to his label or to celebrate gender fluidity, it was the ultimate troll-artiste move.

9. Streaming

If it’s not Tidal, Prince didn’t approve.

10. Pink

In a recent interivew, Pink recounts her first meeting with Prince, when she was 19. She asked the legend if he’d ever like to collaborate, and he responded by asking if she owned her own masters. Seeing as how she had just signed her first deal, she did not — so he told her to call back once she did get those rights.

11. The Black Album

Before Jay Z and even Metallica, Prince was readying the title-less, credit-less The Black Album. But he pulled it a week before it was scheduled to hit shelves in 1987, an about-face allegedly sparked by a bad ecstasy trip. Only a few dozen promo copies were circulating around the US and UK until it was officially released in 1994.