Prince Proves He’s a Baller With ‘The Daisy Chain’
Unlike most of Prince's many talents, which shine resolutely through his art, evidence of the Purple One's basketball prowess has existed only in accounts from peers, the imagination of fans and an archived Minneapolis newspaper article.
Footage of Prince shooting hoops remains scarce, but he video for "The Daisy Chain," produced exclusively for NPG Music Club downloaders in 2001, contains a brief sequence of His Royal Badness in action, scoring basket after basket at the tail-end of the video. (He also takes a couple of good shots during the Lovesexy Live '88 concert film.)
But that isn't the only obscure element of "The Daisy Chain." Prince mans most all instruments on the song with the notable exception of bassist Larry Graham whose gnarly fuzz bass excursions energize the track. Then, emerging near the song's halfway mark, is a rap verse delivered by unknown rapper David Schwartz, then professionally known as DVS.
Watch Prince Perform "Daisy Chain"
Schwartz's stint with Prince's newly revived New Power Generation was brief, joining in 2000 and expiring the following year. But his involvement proved crucial to the Prince legend on his would-be 58th birthday, two months following his premature death. Interviewed by Billboard, Schwartz opened up about his late musical mentor's athletic game, and made public the video (which can be seen above) that had been lost in the depths of "the vault."
"We would be at Paisley recording songs. I’d be watching them rehearse, or we’d be rehearsing for the tour," Schwartz said of the group's extracurricular activities between recording sessions at Paisley Park. Prince's private basketball court, he said, was situated right next to the studio.
"He was a trash talker," he told the magazine. "He would try to make you miss every time he would shoot. Obviously he wasn’t tall enough to swat you, so he would say weird things, make a weird noise, or he would run around you in a circle—anything he could to distract you."
The connection the two established through music collaboration and basketball had a profound impact on the former rapper's artistic confidence. Published the same day as his interview, Schwartz, who now works as an art director in Los Angeles, posted a heartfelt essay intimately recounting his experience working with Prince.
The essay, titled "Never had pancakes, but Prince was a baller," starts the reader in 1999, at time of personal and professional instability for Schwartz, and offers an intimate portrait of being introduced to Prince and working with him. As the title suggests, he also settles the score about a certain classic Chapelle's Show sketch.