Papa is the fifth track on Prince's fifteenth album Come. In 1994, four months before the album's release, the promotional video of Papa was included in The Beautiful Experience TV movie (credited, as was the whole project, to ).
While specific recording dates are not known, basic tracking took place in January 1993 at Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen, Minnesota (during the same set of sessions that produced Pheromone and Dance Of Desperation). The track was originally included as the fourth track on a March 1993 configuration of Come. It was also planned as the first track on the Papa EP, planned for release on Prince's birthday, 7 June 1993, but later abandoned. It was kept for inclusion on the Come album as the seventh track on a 11 March 1994 configuration.
Prince has hinted in shows that the song is semi-autobiographical (often finishing the performance by stating "don't abuse children - or else they turn out like me", a line from the song), but Prince's mother has only said that she and Prince's father had "normal disagreements", and it has been suggested that Prince's childhood was more peaceful than the depictions in this song and in the movie Purple Rain.