Modernaire (a.k.a. (I Want 2 B A) Modernaire) was performed (in part) by Dez Dickerson in Prince's first film Purple Rain. Over 20 years later, Dez Dickerson released the song as the first track on his limited edition compilation A Retrospective 1982-1987 (from his own tape copy of the track, rather than the master copy).
Three years later, Dez Dickerson released the single Modernaire, including the original version of the track and multiple cover versions of the song by dance artists (labeled on the single as "remixes").
While specific recording dates are not known, it is believed that the track was recorded in May 1983 at Prince's Kiowa Trail Home Studio in Chanhassen, Minnesota (credited as "the Purple House basement studio").
Some reversed background vocals by Jill Jones include the lines "Else would a maiden blush bepaint my cheek / For that which thou hast heard me speak tonight", taken from William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet (Act 2, Scene 2). This same recording was later used in Intermission.