| March 21, 2006|
3121 and Paisley Park
| November 2004 – 2005|
21 March 2006
| Funk, Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Contemporary R&B|
Grammy Award for Best R&B Album
Prince albums, Funk albums
3121 (pronounced "thirty-one twenty-one") is the thirty-first studio album by American recording artist Prince. It was released on March 21, 2006. 3121 was released by NPG Records and distributed, under a "1-Album Deal", by Universal Music.
The album's first single, "Te Amo Corazón", was released in the United States on December 13, 2005, and debuted at number 20 on the VH1 countdown; the second single, "Black Sweat", was released on February 2, 2006.
The title of the album was believed to be a reference to the address of Prince's rented Los Angeles mansion. A lawsuit filed against Prince by the landlord (NBA player Carlos Boozer) indicates an entirely different address (1235 Sierra Alta Way). However, Prince has repeatedly referred to the property as "3121"; indeed, the lawsuit alleges he painted 3121 on the exterior of the property, and the album's liner notes indicate that it was "recorded at Paisley Park Studios and 3121."
According to another explanation the album's title refers to a verse in the Bible (Psalm 31:21). "Blessed be Jehovah (God/Yahweh), For he has rendered wonderful loving-kindness to me in a city under stress." Prince made a reference to this during a performance of the title track on the 2006 BET Awards; "Where's the real party at? Shake your tambourines! BET read Psalms; that's where it is."
A further explanation reveals that 3121 refers to the album being Prince's 31st release and the release date being the 21st.
Album sessions started in November 2004 with the recording of the song "3121" with Michael Bland and Sonny T.
Ostensibly inspired by the 1964 children's novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Prince included a limited number of "purple tickets" with the album. Lucky winners who found tickets were flown in from Europe, Asia, Mexico and the US to attend a semi-private performance (along with a long list of celebrities) at Prince's home in Los Angeles.
3121 reinforced Prince's big comeback after the release of 2004's Musicology. It became the first Prince album ever to debut at number 1, with 183,436 sold in its first week. It knocked the soundtrack for High School Musical off the top spot, and became Prince's first number 1 album since 1989's Batman. Eventually it was certified Gold by the RIAA.
After Prince's death on April 21, 2016, 3121 became one of the most sought-after of his back catalogue. As of September 2016, copies are currently selling for an average cost of £25 ($33).
All tracks written by Prince, except where noted.Drums: Michael Bland (on "3121"), Cora Coleman Dunham (on "Te Amo Corazón", "Get On the Boat")
Bass: Sonny T (on "3121"), Joshua Dunham (on "Te Amo Corazón", "Get On the Boat")
Horn section: Maceo Parker, Candy Dulfer, Greg Boyer and Ray
Percussion: Herbert Urena, Ricky Salas (on "Te Amo Corazón"), Sheila E. (on "Get On the Boat")
Strings arrangement: Clare Fischer
Additional vocals: The New Power Generation (shouts), Támar (and co-lead on "Beautiful, Loved and Blessed")
All other instruments and voices: Prince
Produced by Prince
Photo: Afshin Shahidi
Designer: Sam Jennings
Recorded at Paisley Park Studios and 3121
Engineered by Ian Boxill, L. Stu Young
Assisted by Lisa Chamblee Hampton
Mastered at Bernie Grundman
3Te Amo Corazón3:36