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Prince: Inside the Music and the Masks

Updated on June 29, 2016
The cover of Prince: Inside the Music and the Masks by Ronin Ro
The cover of Prince: Inside the Music and the Masks by Ronin Ro | Source

The Book

Written by Ronin Ro, this book takes us through the journey of Prince and his music. Thirty of his albums has hit the Billboard 100, making him a one of a kind musician. Since The Beatles, there has never been an artist to have a number-one movie, single and song at the same time. Until Prince came into the scene. Once an unknown teenager, Prince was determined to get his music out there for the world to know. One by one, he started to gain fans and soon was famous. But as Prince showed us, nothing comes easy and there's always a down side to getting famous.

In Prince: Inside the Music and the Masks, we learn about Prince's rise to fame. What problems did he face as he rose to fame? What about Prince's personal life?

My Thoughts

Let me start off with saying that I have been a Prince fan since 1990. At the age of 7, I discovered who he was. How? I don't exactly remember. All I do remember is that he was my first celebrity crush and I he continues to be one I truly admire. I took his death every hard, still do in fact. I knew I had to start reading more about him, especially since I bought every tribute magazine I could find. Knowing Prince was a very private person, I was hoping that this book would give me a little more into his personal life.

I was wrong.

Ro spent the majority of the book giving only a chronological order of Prince's albums. Seriously. 300 hundred pages of nothing but his albums and singles. Yes I love Prince's music and always will. But I was hoping for something more in depth. I didn't get that with Ro's book. By the time I had only a few more chapters left, I started to skim through his book. And with the chronological order, it was mostly things that were showing how grateful Prince was. Which, when you read other articles about Prince, people didn't have a bad word to say about him. Ro spent a lot of time talking about Prince's trouble with Warner, which also brought him out in a bad light. Warner didn't want Prince to do his own thing with his music, it's natural for Prince to be upset with that. His music was his art. But Ro kept going back to how Warner didn't want him to do this, how they were upset he did this...and so on. How about all the good of Prince's music? Why didn't Ro touch on that?

I rated this book 1 star because I felt so much was missing. Here is a legend who recently passed away. People are going to want to know more about his life, not only his music. Yes, his music brought many good things to people. But how about a little more about him as a person?

Purple Rain and Graffiti Bridge

I really wish Ro spent more time talking about these two movies by Prince. Purple Rain is one of my favorite movies and I would've loved to have known more about the making of the movie. It was touched lightly upon. However, Ro once again showed a darker side of Prince, claiming he her problems with this movie and people who wanted to work on it with him.

Graffiti Bridge, a movie made in 1990, which I had scene was barely touched upon. And when it was, he threw it in casually amongst Prince's other words. That alone confused me. But then, it just stopped saying how much of a flop it was. This could've been a lot better if he wrote a little more background about the movie. For instance, give us what the point of the movie was. What was Prince's vision of this movie? All we know is that it's a sequel to Purple Rain. Yes, I knew that as soon as I saw it and realized it was the same people and characters. Those who knew the movie knew that, but what about what the movie was about. I saw the movie and liked it, but not as much as I loved Purple Rain. Ro should've done research and added that to this part of the book.

Personal Life

The one part that I felt where we got to know the real Prince was one of the very few times Ro dove into the personal life of Prince. When he and his first wife lost their first son shortly after birth. I remember when this news came out, I was watching VH1 or MTV at the time when they announced his son had passed away and then released his video. I cried back then when it happened and I cried again while reading about this part in the book. He showed the human side of Prince, the one everyone knew about.

But what about getting all his facts about Prince and his first wife? Because before they broke up, she was pregnant again but miscarried. This wasn't mentioned at all in the book. Why not? I mean, I would think that would be an important part in Prince's life too.

What The Book Lacked

Ro himself interviewing those who knew Prince, or even Prince himself. I mean all his facts were taken from other books, interviews and videos. Why didn't he go and get information himself to add into his book? Grabbing answers from previous outlets means nothing. How do you even know these people were telling the truth? There could be sour grapes with those who used to work with him and willing to spread lies. You never know.


If you're a fan of Prince, I wouldn't recommend this book. I'm sure there are other books out there that show Prince in a much better light. I was hoping for so much more when reading this book and was left deeply disappointed.

Prince will always be remembered for who he was, a legend and genius of his time. One who is truly missed.

Would you read this book based on my review?

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    • MagicToDo profile image

      Christine 19 months ago from NYC

      I agree. I mean I was always a fan but his death just hit me too hard I realized I missed out on more than I realized. But I agree I think we will see a lot more about him.

    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 19 months ago from Auburn, WA

      Good review. I always thought that you can't write a bio of a pop icon while he is alive or at least soon after his/her death. I think in a few years, we'll see a more comprehensive look into his world.

      Having lived through his Purple Rain hysteria and other big hits, I always dismissed him as the "Raspberry Beret" guy. But what I found after he died was how influential he was and his work ethic. Now I see what I missed. Sharing everywhere.