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New Power Generation

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The New Power Generation (or NPG for short) is the backing group of Prince. They debuted on the 1991 album Diamonds and Pearls. The name comes from a song on his 1990 album Graffiti Bridge, however the phrase “Welcome to the New Power Generation” was mentioned on the opening track of 1988’s Lovesexy.

When Prince began his formal dispute with record company Warner Bros. and changed his stage name to o(+> in 1993, the NPG became a side-project for Prince, allowing him to release music outside of his contract. The concept was quite similar to The Time, and was also intended to appeal to a more urban audience than Prince’s mainstream material.

The NPG’s debut album, Goldnigga featured Tony M. as lead vocalist/rapper. The album relied heavily on rap, while the music itself was reminicent of 1970s funk. Prince participated heavily in writing and performing the music, while Tony wrote and performed raps. Prince provided co-lead vocals on 2 songs, “Black M.F. in the House” and “Johnny”, and the 2 were often performed by him in concerts and aftershows.

Prince trimmed down the NPG when he began performing as o(+> in early 1994. This tighter version backed o(+> on The Gold Experience and released Exodus in 1995. Now with Sonny T as lead vocalist, the focus was more on funk. Although several raps were recorded for the album, they were nixed on the final release. o(+> again took a role behind the scenes and adopted the guise of the masked “Tora Tora”. He again performed lead vocals on several tracks, sometimes with an altered voice. His participation in this version of the NPG was much more apparent.

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