Art Official Age
Warner Bros. Records
Prince struggled with hip-hop in the beginning (see “Jughead”), but aced Afrofuturism straight out the gate on the sci-fi concept album, Art Official Age. Through explanatory skits reminiscent of The Gold Experience, we learn he’s been awakened from suspended animation 45 years in the future. Most importantly, the songs work. His only album co-produced with someone else (25-year-old Joshua Welton), tracks like “Funknroll” and “Breakdown” prove that, even on his 37th album, Prince could still win in the same sandbox as, say, Janelle Monáe.