Prince (born Prince Rogers Nelson on June 7, 1958), known from 1993 to 2000 as (or informally, The Artist Formerly Known as Prince or "Tafkap"), is a popular and influential American musician. His music has spanned myriad styles; though his early material was firmly rooted in R&B, funk and soul, he has constantly expanded his musical palette throughout his career, absorbing many other genres including new wave, pop, rock, blues, jazz and hip hop. The distinctive characteristics of the early-to-mid 1980s work which brought him to superstardom (including sparse and industrial-sounding drum machine arrangements, and the use of synthesizer riffs to serve the role traditionally occupied by horn riffs in earlier R&B, funk and soul music) became known as the "Minneapolis sound," which proved heavily influential. He has a reputation as a workaholic, having released over a thousand songs both under his own name and through other artists, and is known for having composed and recorded many more songs that remain unreleased. Regarded as a perfectionist, Prince has a reputation as being somewhat difficult to work with, and for being highly protective of his music. He writes, composes and produces most of his music single-handedly, and plays most of the instruments on his albums. He also is a well-known songwriter for other artists, and some of those songs have topped the charts as well. Critics and colleagues have referred to the quality of Prince's work and its versatility as being indicative of musical genius.
This is a list of Prince's mainstream retail release studio albums since his 1978 debut. For a detailed listing of all albums, singles, and production/songwriting work, please see Prince discography.
Prince often uses pseudonyms and monikers to separate himself from the music (either his own or that of others) he has had input in; he has said that he was tired of seeing his name everywhere, and that only egotistical people take credit for everything they do. He has also given himself alternate names for his film characters, the most recognizable of which is The Kid. As a child, he was called Skippy.