Album: Crystal Ball

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1996: Emancipation All Prince Albums All Related Artists Albums 1998: The Truth
Crystal Ball

Crystal Ball retail album art

Retail artwork is shown above.
Mail order version contained no artwork.

Album details

Released: 29 January 1998 (5CD direct order first shipments arrive)
3 March 1998 (4CD retail release)
Length: 49:43 / 49:48 / 49:41
Label(s): NPG Records
Studio(s): Paisley Park Studios, Chanhassen, MN, USA; Record Plant, Los Angeles, CA, USA; Sunset Sound, Hollywood, CA, USA; Larrabee Sound Studios, North Hollywood, CA, USA; Guillaume Tell, Suresnes, France

Charts, Certifications & Awards

Country: Chart Entry Date Peak Position Weeks in Chart
USA: The Billboard 200 14 Mar. 1998 62 5
USA: Billboard Top R&B Albums 14 Mar. 1998 59 4
This album has not received any certifications in the USA
This album has not received any awards in the USA

Singles released

  • None.
    Days Of Wild was later released as a limited edition single, but using a different live recording.

See also

Crystal Ball CD
Crystal Ball is Prince’s 20th full-length studio album, the fourth to be credited to , and the second triple album in succession (following Emancipation). It was shipped to customers who had pre-ordered in January 1998 (14 months after the release of his previous album, Emancipation), with a retail release following on 3 March 1998. It was his first album to be released and distributed independently of any record label.

It is the first full collection of outtakes and songs from Prince’s legendary "vault", and contains tracks recorded under the name Prince as well as under the then-current moniker . The full album was credited to , however. The album package (titled only as Crystal Ball) also included the album The Truth (the direct-order edition also included the album Kamasutra by The NPG Orchestra).

Each of the album’s three CDs contains 10 tracks and lasts almost exactly 50:00 (mirroring Emancipation’s 12-song, 60:00 disc lengths). This means the material could have fit on only two CDs.


The album was initially mentioned on a few days before the release of Emancipation, and was mentioned in the booklet of Emancipation upon its release in November 1996. It was initially only available through phone pre-order (using 1-800 New Funk). gave updates on the album over the next several months, saying that the album would only be produced when 100,000 orders had been placed, and stating the album had been completed on Independence Day, 4 July 1997.

A few short samples of tracks (including Days Of Wild) were posted on the website during the summer of 1997, and the packaging was hyped as an innovative design. Customers who had placed orders several months before release showed frustration online with the delays. On 5 September 1997 it was announced on that The Truth a;bum would be included with the package:

A bird of high distinction says EVERY1 who orders CRYSTAL BALL, the new album of previously-bootlegged jams, will now receive THE TRUTH on CD as well! ...NPG keep rolling!

Then on 30 December 1997, the including of another added surprised was announced as well:

... there is now an added surprise 4 the friends who pre-ordered early!! 1-800-NewFunk will deliver... naysayers will eat words on toast when the Ball drops!

, presumed to alluded to the inclusion of Kamasutra.

In addition, several customers reported receiving a t-shirt with their order (exact t-shirt varied by customer), and a copy of the Emancipation lyric book. Several customers received a follow-up in August 1998, of a cassette copy of The War, credited to the New Power Generation. Some customers did not receive this, however, and some people who did receive it did not order Crystal Ball, so it is unclear how the mailing list was created.

Sessions and compiling

The album is largely made up of tracks recorded in two periods: 1985-6 and 1993-6. The only exception is Cloreen Bacon Skin, recorded in March 1983.

No tracks were recorded especially for this album (although 2morrow was recorded after his last album, Emancipation, was completed, so Crystal Ball was the first album for which it could be considered). Additionally, the album contains seven remixes or alternate versions of previously-released tracks, Love Sign (Shock G’s Silky Remix), So Dark (a remix of Dark), Tell Me How U Wanna B Done (a remix of The Continental), Interactive, Good Love, Get Loose (a remix of Loose!), and P. Control (Remix).

As such, this album marks the first time material has been re-used from one album to another, although this album should perhaps not be viewed as a cohesive, canonical piece in the way others could.

avoided using tracks which strongly featured the Revolution, as he intended to release a companion album, Roadhouse Garden, in 1999, containing previously-unreleased Prince and the Revolution material (this album remains unreleased, however).

Copyright information on the album is given as 1997.


No singles were released from the album, although Love Sign and P. Control had both previously been available as promo-only singles connected to their original albums, 1-800 New Funk and The Gold Experience respectively. Although videos for Acknowledge Me, Interactive and 18 & Over were made a few years before this release (and not connected to any albums), they were not used as promotional tools for Crystal Ball. Days Of Wild was released as a limited-release single in 2002, using a different live version than included here. did not tour or make any TV appearances to support the album.

The album reached number 62 on The Billboard 200, and number 59 on the Billboard Top R&B Albums chart.

Track listing
CD Digital

The compact disc version is the original issue.

  • Disc 1:
  1. Crystal Ball (10:28)
  2. Dream Factory (3:07)
  3. Acknowledge Me (5:27)
  4. Ripopgodazippa (4:39)
  5. Love Sign (Shock G’s Silky Remix) (3:53)
  6. Hide The Bone (5:04) 1 
  7. 2morrow (4:14)
  8. So Dark (5:14)
  9. Movie Star (4:26)
  10. Tell Me How U Wanna B Done (3:16)
  • Disc 2:
  1. Interactive (3:04)
  2. Da Bang (3:20)
  3. Calhoun Square (4:47)
  4. What’s My Name (3:04)
  5. Crucial (5:06)
  6. An Honest Man (1:13)
  7. Sexual Suicide (3:40)
  8. Cloreen Bacon Skin (15:37)
  9. Good Love (4:55)
  10. Strays Of The World (5:07)
  • Disc 3:
  1. Days Of Wild (9:19)
  2. Last Heart (3:02)
  3. Poom Poom (4:32)
  4. She Gave Her Angels (3:53)
  5. 18 & Over (5:40)
  6. The Ride (5:14)
  7. Get Loose (3:31)
  8. P. Control (Remix) (6:00)
  9. Make Your Mama Happy (4:01)
  10. Goodbye (4:35)

The digital format is a reissue of the CD version, made available on 26 March 2005 on NPG Music Club "Musicology Download Store".

  1. Crystal Ball (10:28)
  2. Dream Factory (3:07)
  3. Acknowledge Me (5:27)
  4. Ripopgodazippa (4:39)
  5. Love Sign (Shock G’s Silky Remix) (3:53)
  6. Hide The Bone (5:04) 1 
  7. 2morrow (4:14)
  8. So Dark (5:14)
  9. Movie Star (4:26)
  10. Tell Me How U Wanna B Done (3:16)
  11. Interactive (3:04)
  12. Da Bang (3:20)
  13. Calhoun Square (4:47)
  14. What’s My Name (3:04)
  15. Crucial (5:06)
  16. An Honest Man (1:13)
  17. Sexual Suicide (3:40)
  18. Cloreen Bacon Skin (15:37)
  19. Good Love (4:55)
  20. Strays Of The World (5:07)
  21. Days Of Wild (9:19)
  22. Last Heart (3:02)
  23. Poom Poom (4:32)
  24. She Gave Her Angels (3:53)
  25. 18 & Over (5:40)
  26. The Ride (5:14)
  27. Get Loose (3:31)
  28. P. Control (Remix) (6:00)
  29. Make Your Mama Happy (4:01)
  30. Goodbye (4:35)

All songs written by except where indicated.

1  Original lyrics by Brenda Lee Eager and Hilliard Wilson




LP, CD, Cassettes and Other versions
Country Format Cat. Number Comments Front Back Label 1 Label 2

USA CD x5 970188-1,2,3,4,5 1-800 New Funk order roundbox set w/ The Truth and Kamasutra.
USA CD x4 970188-1,2,3,5 retail roundbox set w/ The Truth and booklet.
Europe CD x4 970188-1,2,3,5 retail set w/ The Truth and booklet.

Variants, Special Editions and Reissues
Country Format Cat. Number Comments Front Back Label 1 Label 2

USA Digital download n/a WMA format



Additional Information

Promotion (at time of release) Trivia

  • The album was written about in newspapers a lot at the time of production (from late 1996 to early 1998) as an example of a new model of selling music.
  • Press adverts for this release:

  • The initial 5CD set of Crystal Ball came in a round plastic case, designed to emulate a crystal ball. An inner case contained slots for the five CDs, but no booklet, artwork or credits, which were instead available online at A booklet was included in the 4CD jewel-case set which was available in retail outlets, however.
  • Initial 1-800-New-Funk packaging (incorrectly shown with booklet)
    Initial 1-800-New-Funk packaging (incorrectly shown with booklet)
    Crystal Ball was only available to purchase as part of the Crystal Ball package, along with The Truth. No separate 3CD set was available. The initial 1-800 New Funk orders also included a fifth CD, The NPG Orchestra’s Kamasutra inserted in the round plastic case (see picture), designed to emulate a crystal ball.
  • Several customers reported problems with their orders, including multiple credit card charges (on occasion up to five times the order price of $50), a requirement to pay taxes on international orders when the package was received and lost orders. The length of time that the project took between taking pre-orders and customers receiving their copy, as well as the customer service issues associated with the project, are often referred to online as "the Crystal Ball fiasco". This is often referenced online if a contemporary project faces delays or setbacks.
  • When Crystal Ball Volume II, a follow-up to Crystal Ball was planned in 2000, the two 'new' CDs were going to be mailed out with jewel cases for The Truth and Kamasutra. The two 'new' CDs would then take the place of these discs in the Crystal Ball 5CD case.
  • A video collection companion was announced, but this was not released, and it is unknown how close this came to completion.

All Albums All Related Artists Albums 1998
The Truth