The Best Prince Tributes On The Internet | Gradient

The Best Prince Tributes On the Internet


For the most part, Twitter and Facebook are angry cesspools of bickering strawmen. But when an icon passes, we briefly put aside our squabbles and, however briefly, the Internet becomes a stream of beautiful tributes to a fallen hero. That’s doubly true of Prince, the genderqueer genius, guitar god, shade king and all-around ambassador of excellence who shockingly passed away at the age of 57 on Thursday.

Here are some of our favorite Prince tributes on the Internet right now.

The Best Prince Stories

Perhaps no celebrity generated more stories than Prince. Every true story about him sounds like it was made up on the spot—like someone improvising a tale about the most Prince-like thing possible. So sure of his identity, so confident in his own reality, Prince crafted a world where anything could happen and frequently did.

Kevin Smith Tries and Fails to Film Prince’s Documentary About Religion
Kevin Smith has never put a story to screen as wild and wonderful as this half-hour recollection of the time Prince asked him to film a documentary about Prince’s religious beliefs. As with many Prince stories, the less you know about this one going in, the better. Just watch it.

Tyler Perry’s ‘Purple Rain’ Cover Gets Upstaged by Prince Himself
Apparently, at one point, Tyler Perry had a brief rendition of “Purple Rain” in one of his Madea shows at the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles. Prince, famously choosy about who got to use his music, called Perry to give him a piece of his mind, and the rest is fantastic history.

Charlie Murphy Gets Legendarily Owned by Prince’s Basketball Prowess
The most wonderful Prince story of all time, as made famous by an incredible re-enactment on The Chapelle Show. The story is almost too incredible to be believed, but Murphy swears it all went down exactly as he recounted it and anyway, Prince never denied it.

Prince Replaces Questlove With Finding Nemo
Last year, Roots frontman Questlove came out with a Prince story for the ages, and it involves Finding Nemo, Fela Kuti and, you know what, you just need to watch the whole thing for yourself.

The Best Prince Covers

Many people ran to Spotify to cleanse their sorrows with some Prince tunes, only to find that Prince music is notoriously sparse on the Internet (but it is all streaming on Tidal!). In lieu of the genuine article, a few musicians have released their own covers of Prince songs to help fill the Prince-shaped void.

Jennifer Hudson and the Cast of The Color Purple Covering “Purple Rain”

How good is Jennifer Hudson? Jennifer Hudson dropped a fantastic “Purple Rain” cover onstage within hours of the announcement of Prince’s passing and good god, it’s a miracle.

The Hamilton Cast Covering ‘Let’s Go Crazy’
Lin Manuel-Miranda and Co. took a little time at the end of the hottest event in New York City to pay tribute the way Prince would have wanted: with a foundation-shattering dance party to “Let’s Go Crazy.”

Questlove DJ’s an Entire Prince Set to Finding Nemo

Not quite a cover, but still notable: Questlove DJ’d the Brooklyn Bowl on Thursday night, and spent the entire time spinning Prince songs. And by way of showing he was a good sport about the story recounted above, he set the whole thing to clips of Finding Nemo.

Representin. It’s Only Right. #Prince #BowlTrain #PurpleTRAIN #ThatDambFish

A photo posted by Questlove Gomez (@questlove) on


The Best Words

Perhaps it’s folly to even try to sing about Prince, given how singular he was in his ability to convey emotion and energy through music. A few people tried to sum up their thoughts over video or Twitter, and some of them said it all about as well as anyone could.

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Few funny people are as gifted as Colbert at sober reflection, and he and bandleader Jon Batista took a moment to swap stories of discovering Prince and his influence on their future work.

Tom Hanks 

America’s favorite uncle dropped by The Late Show on Thursday night, and he had Prince on the brain as well. He spun a delightful story about staying up late to catch Prince and realizing that someone had finally “cracked Rick James’ code.”

Justin Timberlake

Timberlake has garnered a fair share of Prince comparisons in his time and, fair or not, he took to Instagram with a pretty classy tribute, saying “we have lost our greatest living musician.”

It was Raspberry Beret. I was 4 years old. Yes, 4. I remember that I instantly loved it. “Mommy, who is that singing?” Seems weird but it’s true. More than a “once in a lifetime” artist… Just a ONCE IN FOREVER ARTIST. I’m still in shock as I write this and I feel this overwhelming grief. But, we should all turn away from that and HONOR this musician that changed all of our lives, our perspectives, our feeling, our whole being. From another planet? Probably. Royalty, for sure. Us worthy..? Laughable. They say don’t meet your idols… That they let you down. But, some of my greatest, funniest (yes, he was hilarious), and most prolific encounters and conversations about music came from the moments that I spent with him. It would be silly to say that he has inspired our music… It’s beyond that. He’s somewhere within every song I’ve ever written. I am sad, but I will smile when I think of every second that I had the fortune of being in his company. We have lost our greatest living musician. But his music will never die. Prince, NOTHING COMPARES… #RIPPrince

A photo posted by Justin Timberlake (@justintimberlake) on



James Corden

Corden had wrapped up the Thursday taping of his show, but took a quick moment to film a brief, lovely tribute to Prince (we’d noted just last week that Prince was our top pick for a future segment of Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke”).

Can’t put it much better than that.

New Pod Flow: Sounds Good With Branden Harvey “Jason Russell”


Jason is the cofounder of the iconic non-profit Invisible Children which was founded to increase awareness of the horrendous activities of the LRA in Central Africa. Jason was also the director of the iconic Kony 2012 film that took the world by storm. In this two-part interview Jason and Branden talk about what it means to create a movement, what Jason experienced during his breakdown and subsequent recovery, and Jason’s experience in the world of theater.

New Pod Flow: Animalators, “ Aharon Rabinowitz”


Aharon Rabinowitz is the head of marketing for Red Giant based in New York City. During our conversation, we discussed the importance of work life balance, his start as a production intern at Sesame Street and why artist’s feel personally offended when you reject their work.

New Pod Flow: In Case You Missed It, Episode 040


United gets their cheap on, fake news, and Trump hired who?

New Pod Flow: Scribble & Jam, “Artist Matthew Perryman Jones”


Welcome to Episode IV. This week, Dan spends some time with his favorite singer/songwriter, Matthew Perryman Jones. Matthew and Dan talk about panic attacks, growing up in Atlanta, the way music is informed by pain and suffering and the way music gives freedom.

If you have spent any time watching television in the last decade you have most likely heard one of Mattew’s songs on shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Pretty Little Liars, One Tree Hill and many others. His insightful writing and voice have drawn comparisons to Leonard Cohen and Jeff Buckley, and he is on the short list of songwriters who skillfully weave the deeply philosophical and the vivid utterly human without ever losing sight of either.

To get his new album Cold Answer, (which features the three songs from him you heard on this episode), visit

Subscribe on iTunes.

New Pod Flow: Sounds Good With Branden Harvey “Next Steps After the Presidential Election”


Branden sits down with writer and speaker Tyler Huckabee days after Donald Trump was elected President of the United States to talk about empathy, justice, listening, and where we go from here.

New Pod Flow: In Case You Missed It, Episode 039


Special Election Edition, President Trump to legalized weed and everything in between.

This week we reflect on the election and discuss our strategies for staying sane.

New Pod Flow: Animalators, “Illo


Luca and Ilenia are the founders of Illo, a studio based in Turin, Italy.  During our conversation, we discussed their self-driving video bot named Algo, how Illo was formed and how they’ve crafted a unique office culture.

New Pod Flow: In Case You Missed It, Episode 038


This week we discuss Beyonce’s night at the CMAs, last minute election plans and how SNL might save us all.

Subscribe on iTunes and Stitcher.

New Pod Flow: It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s a Podcast: Doctor Strange


We appreciate everyone sticking with us through this long hiatus but are planning our return even as we speak, with a bunch of new goodies and an updated format. In the meantime, here’s a brief primer on Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange — just so you can go into the movie knowing what you’re getting yourself into.