I think I’ll continue on the Minneapolis sound trend I’ve been on lately. And go figure, this little gem was also features Prince. For those not familiar with 94 East, they were a group that was formed by Pepe Willie, who was married to Prince’s cousin. This group was also the launching pad for The Purple One’s career.
I know what you are thinking, “But Cool Hand, Prince was already a household name by 1985!” Well, it turns out all these recordings were made during the years 1975 through 1979. However, I don’t know the full back story as to why it took so long to release the album. If anybody can enlighten us here on the site, that would be awesome.
What I do know is that once Prince’s career started to take off, the group disbanded. This was the only album from them that was released. There was “Symbolic Beginning“ that was released in ’95 but it was mainly a remaster of “Minneapolis Genius” with a few studio sessions and instrumentals. So to me, not really a full release. And of course there was their self titled “94 East” that came out in 2002. However, I have never heard it and it kind of goes way out from the scope of my site, which is funk, soul, and disco music of the 70’s and 80’s. It might actually be a good album. It just strikes me as odd to see very prominently, with font almost as big as the title, on the cover “With Prince on guitar.” As if the other musicians had no redeeming qualities about their work and the only way for the album to sell was to make it known that Prince did something for it.
“Minneapolis Genius” is a great album to me. It came at a very great time in music just as the experimentation with synths really started to pick up and go mainstream. It also came at the birth of that Minneapolis sound I’ve been talking about. One of the aspects of the album that I really, really, really, enjoy is that it’s mostly instrumental. There are only two tracks that feature prominent vocals, the smooth almost softcore porn groove of “Lovin’ Cup” and the Prince composed, “Just Another Sucker.” “Dance to the Music of the World” does have vocals in it, but they’re all vocoded and not prominent the in the same way as Roger Troutman’s work. The majority of the album has an overall experimental funk, jam band, sort of vibe, without the drug induced jam band length. Most tracks top out just beyond the five minute mark.
If you want to pick this album up, then I suggest you do it quickly. Prices have been climbing pretty steadily on this release. If you find this in good condition for any less than $10.00 then I suggest you add it to your collection. I don’t see this coming out as a reissue ever because of the other releases from 94 East and who knows what kind of red tape it would have to jump through because of Prince’s legendary status. If you’re a fan of the Minneapolis sound, then this is a must. Seriously, go right now and hunt down a copy. You need this in your life!
Label: Hot Pink Records Inc. – HPL-3223
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Genre: Electronic, Funk / Soul
Style: Soul, Funk, Disco
A1. If You Feel Like Dancin’
A2. Lovin’ Cup
B1. Just Another Sucker
B2. Dance To The Music Of The World
B3. One Man Jam