Muse 2 The Pharaoh is the second track on Prince’s 24th album The Rainbow Children, his first album after reverting to the name Prince. In 2002 a live version from the One Nite Alone... Tour was released as the second track on the One Nite Alone... Live! album (along with Mellow, The Other Side Of The Pillow and Strange Relationship from the same show).
Specific recording dates are unknown, but it is likely that basic tracking took place in late 2000 or early 2001 at Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen, Minnesota.
One lyric from the song has caused some controversy. In discussing slavery, Prince states "Holocaust aside, many lived and died", and goes on to ask "but when all truth is told, would you rather be dead, or be sold?" Another unrelated lyric has caused some confusion, when Prince states "the opposite of NATO is OTAN." While OTAN is the French acronym for NATO, it’s unclear if Prince is referring to this or something else. In live shows (including on the One Nite Alone... Live! album), he changes the lyric to "the opposite of NATO is monotheism". The lyric "Like a thief in the night, my Lord come and strike" is a reference to the Biblical New Testament passage 1 Thessalonians 5:2-4, the earliest of the apostle Paul’s letters to the early Christian churches.