|The Versace Experience (Prelude 2 Gold) is a compilation album of Prince’s studio work, initially given away as a promotional cassette to attendees of the Versace collection of Paris Fashion Week over the course of three consecutive days, beginning 8 July 1995.
It was re-released worldwide (on cassette) in limited quantities (11,000 copies) for the Record Store Day on 13 April 2019, and six months later on all formats and regular commercial release (with reissues of two other albums by , Chaos And Disorder and Emancipation) on 13 September 2019. The 2019 editions became Prince’s ninth compilation album and the sixth posthumous release.
Initial 1995 release
The 1995 cassette was mostly a promotional tool for ’s then upcoming album The Gold Experience, but also contained tracks from other planned projects, the New Power Generation’s second album Exodus (which had already been released in Europe), Madhouse’s third album 24 (which was ultimately left unreleased) and The NPG Orchestra’s Kamasutra (which was released in early 1997).
Unlike other NPG Records sampler cassettes of the era, many tracks were remixed or edited specifically for this release to make listening to the cassette a complete listening experience. In addition, several tracks feature overdubbed vocals by of either "Versace" or "The Versace Experience". As such, many of the tracks are not available in the same form elsewhere.
Also unusually for NPG Records sampler cassettes, The Versace Experience (Prelude 2 Gold) was released in conjunction with Warner Bros. This is likely due to the links with The Gold Experience, which was planned for release by NPG Records and Warner Bros. on 12 September 1995, as indicated on the cassette insert, although the release was later postponed to 26 September 1995.
Only 300 copies of the cassette were made. Artwork for a CD-version was also made, but it is unlikely that any promos were actually pressed on CD at that time.
With only 300 copies pressed and distributed only to attendees of Versace collection of Paris Fashion Week, the 1995 edition of The Versace Experience (Prelude 2 Gold) became a collectible item. The Prince Estate made replicas of this cassette available to the public for the 2019 edition of the Record Store Day in the USA, Europe and Japan. A special ‘purple edition' edition, limited to 1,000 copies was offered for sale from Minneapolis music store Electric Fetus on 25 April 2019. Interestingly, the 2019 reissues by NPG Records/The Prince Estate were released in conjunction with Sony’s Legacy Recordings while the original 1995 cassette bears was offered by NPG Records and Warner Bros. The Versace Experience (Prelude 2 Gold) is the fifth release by The Prince Estate with Legacy Recordings after the 2018 Anthology: 1995-2010 compilation and the reissues of the Musicology, 3121 and Planet Earth albums earlier in 2019.
The first 2019 reissue was a special release for the Record Store Day (on the same day as a reissue of His Majesty’s Pop Life). The general September release was preceded by a “digital single” of Pussy Control (Club Mix Edit) on 23 August 2019 followed by Rootie Kazootie (Edit) on 6 September 2019.
The compilation reached number 2 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart and 170 on The Billboard 200.