At the time, Prince sat down with Guitar World Magazine and was asked about the trend of live musicians using technology to duet with someone who had passed away … think Natalie Cole‘s version of “Unforgettable” she did with her dad.
Here’s what Prince said at the time …
Guitar World: “With digital editing, it is now possible to create a situation where you could jam with any artist from the past. Would you ever consider doing something like that?”
Prince: “Certainly not. That’s the most demonic thing imaginable. Everything is as it is, and it should be. If I was meant to jam with Duke Ellington, we would have lived in the same age. That whole virtual reality thing… it really is demonic. And I am not a demon. Also, what they did with that Beatles song [“Free As a Bird”], manipulating John Lennon’s voice to have him singing from across the grave… that’ll never happen to me. To prevent that kind of thing from happening is another reason why I want artistic control.”
So, when Timberlake used Prince’s voice and image to create a duet — seems like JT did exactly what Prince didn’t want.