The Time, “Donald Trump [Black Version]” (1990): One Track Mind

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With the current political and entertainment news being dominated by Donald Trump, it’s easy to forget that he’s been in the national spotlight more or less continuously for nearly thirty years. Trump is the very symbol of American ostentatious wealth, who relishes being the center of attention and someone everybody wants to be close to, at least by his own account.

That fits hand-in-hand with the persona that Morris Day of Minneapolis’s premier funk band The Time convincingly projects with his stage act. Perhaps that’s why it isn’t a stretch to imagine that Mr. Day sees himself as the African-American incarnation of the cocksure tycoon, right?

Well guess what…

On The Time’s fourth album Pandemonium released back in 1990, the boys take a little break from making you shake your rear end off on the seventh track to deliver a sultry, slow dance number called — yes — “Donald Trump (Black Version).” In it, Day appeals to his object of desire’s own desire for the long green stuff by offering her hundred dollar dinners at Adriano’s, brand new coats and brand new hats…”a man that fulfills your every wish, your every dream.” It’s part of the typical plot for songs from Morris Day and the Time going back to their first song “Cool,” except that now he’s name checking to whom he’s comparing himself. All in fun, of course, and an updated part of the “money can’t buy me love/oh yes it can” debate played out in love songs for decades.

So “Donald Trump (Black Version)” is exactly the kind of ballad you’d expect from The Time, except that it’s not The Time’s ballad, it’s Prince’s. Prince wrote the tune, played all the instruments on it (save for Candy Dulfer’s sax), produced it and then handed it off to the band for Day to merely add on his lead vocal.

I thought that when “Donald Trump (Black Version)” first came out, it had a short shelf life built-in: “A 1990’s love affair” is in the chorus, not to mention naming the song after a man who had enjoyed such a meteoric rise to the top of fame and fortune that it was bound not to last. I was only half right.

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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