Prince had high hopes for his autobiography, begun three months before his April 2016 death. "Could it solve racism?" the musician is quoted as asking the writer he recruited to work with him on the project. Dan Piepenbring tells the BBC that Prince "saw the book as a way to extend the activism that he had begun, especially his work with Black Lives Matter." But the musician would ultimately assemble just 28 handwritten pages about his childhood, to which Piepenbring added an introduction, photos, original scrapbooks, handwritten lyric sheets, and other items from Prince's archive. The result—The Beautiful Ones, released Tuesday—"brings so much new information to light that it's hard to imagine anyone being disappointed," reports Variety, highlighting the joy Prince described in watching his parents get dressed up.
"Only thing better … was watching them leave. That's where the Imagined Life began. A place where I could pretend dress-up & enter a fantasy of my own direction," Prince wrote. He also described his experiences with epilepsy, his first kiss during a game of "House," learning about sex from an R-rated movie, and his feelings about the modern music industry. "They keep trying to ram Katy Perry and Ed Sheeran down our throats and we don't like it no matter how many times they play it," he wrote. Prince wanted artists to be able to "color outside the lines," says Piepenbring. After all, his mother "would not allow herself to be told what to do or how to do it," Piepenbring tells NPR. That and his father's work ethic "came together in him," Piepenbring adds, noting this was the last topic the pair discussed, four days before Prince's death. (Read more Prince stories.)