Saturday, June 18, 2016

Blissobit: Prince Be

Attrell Cordes, better known as PM Dawn's Prince Be, has died.

A Facebook post from Doc G confirmed the news earlier today:

Prince Be has unwell for some time - Doc G spoke to The Stranger in 2011 as he took on the PM Dawn mantle, and wasn't ruling out a return to stage:

I don't know if he'll ever be able to join me again. Prince Be is doing his best to try and get back his health. I think the death of Nate Dogg woke him up. He was slacking a bit. I don't know if Nate had diabetes, but, you know, the strokes... Prince Be can still sing a bit, but he has paralysis in his right hand and it's a little tough. I wish I had the funds for a portable dialysis machine. We'd go on the road. I have this whole vision to get him back out there. I actually had an idea of putting him in a wheelchair and dressing him up like a Utopian Professor X.
Prince Be was American, but PM Dawn wouldn't have been PM Dawn without Britain.

When Be was six, his dad gave him a record by Donovan - and you can see the influence of Donovan's lyrics and worldview on the candy, universal outlook of PM Dawn. More crucially, when the band couldn't catch a cold in the US, the UK liked Ode to a Forgetful Mind to earn the band a deal with an offshoot of Island Records. Prince Be relocated to London, explaining why to the LA Times in 1991:
That spiritual orientation of the late '60s, stressing peace, love and equality, permeates Prince Be's views. He said he even moved to London recently because he finds the atmosphere there less stressful than on the East Coast.

"You can hear the difference in the songs that were written over there," he said in another interview recently. "New York is really stressed out so the songs I write (there) are really morbid. London, though, is (as) if you took New York's fire and poured water on it, so you still have the embers."

But Prince Be also found Britain to be more comfortable on a social level:

"They're not so race conscious over there. They understand me better. It's a shame but it's hard being black and spiritual in this country."
You'll see Prince Be described as an optimist in many places over the web; there can surely be no better proof of his optimism than a man who moved to John Major's England because it felt like a Shangri-La.