Baltimore is the first track on Prince’s 39th album Hitnrun Phase Two. An earlier version of the track was made available to stream on a newly-created Prince3EG Soundcloud account on 9 May 2015, however, the day before Prince’s Rally 4 Peace one-off concert in the city of Baltimore, at which the track had its live debut.
The track, with additional orchestral and horn overdubs, was released on the digital single Baltimore later in the month, in the same form as later released on Hitnrun Phase Two. The following day the Prince3EG Twitter account teased a new release, possibly titled Free Urself, with a link to the single, indicating that the two tracks may be included on the same album at a later date (Free Urself was not included on Hitnrun Phase Two, however).
The track was recorded on 30 April 2015 at Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen, Minnesota, in response to the death of 25-year-old African-American man Freddie Gray in Baltimore, MD, USA, and the resulting riots taking place over the days prior to the song’s recording.
Prince and 3rdEyeGirl with Joshua Welton recorded a live cut of it at the Paisley Park Studios sound stage on 29 April 2015, and Prince recorded it again directly afterwards, alone in Studio A.
This version was mixed by Dylan Dreslow after Eryn Allen Kane added vocals to the track in early May.
Release plans for the song were uncertain at first. “We’re going to talk to Jay-Z and his people about streaming it on ‘Tidal',” he stated in a Fox9.com interview during the song’s recording.
The final stream of the song was accompanied with the following text:
BALTIMORE recorded at Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen, Minnesota on www.myfoxtwincities.com/story/2895594…9kEJc.twitter. The original recording subsequently became a demo when Prince, that very same night - all alone in Studio A, played all the instruments on an entire new version of the song. The next morning Joshua Welton and Kirk Johnson transferred Prince’s tracks in2 Studio B. and mixing began. As the song neared completion at Prince’s behest Eryn Allen Kane graciously flew in on a moment’s notice and graced the track with her angelic presence.
Speaking of presence, Prince was not during Eryn’s vocal sessions. After being given the green light by Prince, via the studio intercom, Ms. Kane basically listened down 2 the track a few times and instinctively knew what was needed.
A powerhouse vocal arranger and producer in her own right - check this out: www.youtube.com/watch?v=uImvs9X9duY the song grew wings instantly once Her had been laid down. The only thing left 2 do now was 2 find an ace mixing engineer who has a love 4 the smooth wave of analog but would still pack the punch the performances deserve. Dylan Dreslow was the 1st and only choice.
He instantly understood the importance of the song and did an excellent job in the delivery of this "baby."
Please know that all involved in this project never take for granted the privileges we have in this country. Let’s all continue to fight the good fight and confront inhumanity on every level until the day it is no longer.