Prince’s mythical vault, from which these bootlegs sometimes emerged, contains thousands of unreleased recordings. After he died of an accidental fentanyl overdose in 2016, the vault was opened and the administrators of his estate began sanctioning a steady stream of reissues and previously unreleased material. In addition to the 35 new tracks and concert film, the 1999 reissue will contain handwritten lyrics by Prince and rare photographs taken by his photographer, Allen Beaulieu.

Apart from an unnecessary greatest hits compilation, the estate has mostly done a good job of continuing Prince’s legacy and curating the inevitable posthumous releases, which also include a remastered version of his best-selling album, Purple Rain and an album of Prince performing songs that he’d written but were made famous by other artists. Yes, he somehow made time for that, too.

During a lengthy conversation in 2016, Prince told me he was only interested, musically, in what he was doing in the present moment. He didn’t look back. As he says on the 1999 title track: “We could all die in a day.” Still, it’s a wise move by Warner Records, with whom he fought in the 1990s, to release these rare tracks to a new generation of music fans.

1999 is an extraordinary record: dark, funky, soulful, and inventive. It’s Prince’s first true crossover—the album that ensured everyone, not just the black audiences who’d discovered him first, knew what he was capable of. The extra songs are bootleg classics that diehard fans have been talking about for years. Now, we all get to hear them with excellent sound quality and in the broader context of the musical era from which they emerged.

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