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Singer, songwriter and performer Prince has been one of the most successful musicians of his generation. Beginning his career in the late 1970s, the Minneapolis native continues to captivate fans all over the world. That magnetic allure and still-formidable star power is the centerpiece of a new book from MSNBC talk show host and culture critic Touré titled I Would Die 4 U: Why Prince Became an Icon.

Life+Times sat down with Touré as he spoke on why he decided to undertake the task of the book after a popular lecture series at Harvard. “Well, I wrote the lectures with an eye toward making it become a book,” said Touré. “That was always my plan. I didn’t want to spend a year digging into a really interesting subject then not go all the way and make it a book.”

In a piece for New York magazine, Touré reveals some intimate details of The Roots’ Prince tribute concert that took place two weeks ago at Carnegie Hall. Drummer and bandleader Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson is a known Prince fanatic, and shared with Touré tidbits he used for the new title.

“Prince is probably the only artist who got to live the dream of constant innovation,” shared Questlove. “He knew the balance between innovation and America’s digestive system.”

Prince, who hasn’t released in album since 2010’s 20Ten, just wrapped up a performance alongside A Tribe Called Quest at this year’s SXSW in Austin, Texas. There are rumors that Prince is hinting towards releasing a new studio album, which would be the singer’s 35th release.

Check out some previously unpublished photos for Prince from the New York story in the gallery.

Photos: Robert Whitman

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