In life, Prince defied comparisons. In death, he’s left a void that may prove impossible to fill. Just try to come up with someone who was like him. Anyone ever. Any comparison you try and make, past or present, falls short. Miles Davis is in the ballpark when it comes to sheer output and stylistic changes—both musically and sartorially—but in other ways even the Dark Prince was no Prince.
It’s necessary to compare Prince not to single people, but to entire groups—he was James Brown and the JB’s, Sly and the Family Stone, George Clinton and Funkadelic, all wrapped up in one neatly coiffed, 5’1” purple package. He was the bandleader and the band. Imagine if Young Thug were just as prolific, but he also made every single beat. That still wouldn’t be close, but it’s probably as close a modern comparison as there is. D’Angelo has the creativity but not the productivity—his entire output would represent a solid month for Prince.
Sometimes it seems impossible that Prince was only one person. There must have been dozens of the guy just to manage all the outfit changes, let alone the touring, the writing, the recording. Maybe that’s part of why his death hit so hard; it was like losing an entire community of people in one body. Replacing him won’t be easy. But you’re welcome to try.