On April 21, 2016, Prince Rogers Nelson, known to the world as the iconic artist, musician and performer Prince, passed away at his Paisley Park estate in Minneapolis. It was a jarring occurrence, analagous to losing a loved one in your family, for many. After all Prince, during his lengthy and ongoing career, didn’t just redefine what it meant to write, produce and release music, perform live, and set trends. His music and style was transcendental, and wasn’t just refined to genres or awards categories. It changed the way people viewed the world, love, sex, spirituality and everything in between. His cultural and musical offspring range from Beyonce to The Weeknd, and scores of artists, fashion designers and actors in between.

Though we were in the final stages of production for Issue #270 when news broke that the world had lost one of its brightest and most profound souls, we were thankfully able to pay a proper tribute to Prince with cover 2-of-2 of Issue #270, written by author Kyle Eustice. Aside from a Prince tribute cover story, our owner and publisher L. Londell McMillan, former attorney, manager and close confidant of Prince‘s, gives insight like only he can into not just Prince the artist, but who he was as a person and friend, and his mission for his faithful following. Below is an excerpt:

Many more over time will marvel over Prince. The master musician and singer with his signature falsetto and deep baritone range. The exciting and provocative performer. The celebrated songwriter. The style icon—a true music super-hero. Conversely, I will remember most his generosity and loving personality. I will also forever be grateful for his friendship and the “once in a lifetime” opportunity he gave me to serve as his lawyer, manager and partner for over a decade. What a wonderful experience to protect and be protected by this giant force in such a small yet powerful frame. Prince was the ultimate rock star, artist and friend. Indeed, like all of us, he had his unique share of issues. (Who doesn’t?) Really, who wants to claim perfection? How would your issues pan out under the intrusive spotlight and grand lens of public scrutiny 24/7?

Prince was a king who had a wealth of endearing qualities, which made it an honor to share in his personal presence. Not because he was a celebrity, but because he was thoughtful, engaging, curious, wise, witty, cool, giving and he cared for things greater than himself. Prince had a passion and fire that burned for love, justice, and freedom. The “Slave” crawl was far more than just a poke at the contractual injustice in the music industry, or his fight to free himself from Warner Brothers. It was far more than a prelude to the Emancipation album and phase of his boundless commercial freedom. Prince was layered and far from someone you can read from the surface.

— L. Londell McMillan —

#RIP: PRINCE!

Stay tuned for our second cover reveal next week, and grab your copy of Issue #270 on newsstands and on our digital app on May 24.

In the issue, we also dive into the world of academia’s (and the Obamas’) new obsession with rap, as well as some important testimonials from a few rap stars about the importance of maintaining a certain level of physical and mental health. We talk to rising upstarts like Cousin Stizz, Dreezy and B. Smyth, and dig deep into dancehall culture, which is helping artists like Rihanna, Drake and Alicia Keys rule the charts in 2016. Also, see what we had to say about Drake’s pivotal Views album, and check out our new summer fashion spread, featuring the beautiful Sevyn Streeter.