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Remembering 'Nasty Girl'—the Queerest Song Prince Ever Wrote

vanity 6

Prince protégé Vanity died Monday at 57. But her greatest contribution to pop culture, the 1982 single "Nasty Girl," is eternal. 

Along with "The Glamorous Life" and "If I Was Your Girlfriend," "Nasty Girl" is the queerest song Prince ever wrote. Depending how you see it, it's either an ode to sexual liberation, as three women state plainly and rather explicity their desires; or an ode to sexual exploitation, as Prince two-steps over the gender divide to translate his erotic fantasies through three empty vessels.

All I know is these are words that I personally live by:


While I know some kids repeat this mantra in their sleep:

vanity 6

Either way, Prince wrote the raunchiest female anthem of the '80s, two years before Madonna was touched for the very first time.

The Purple One supposedly wanted to mentor a girl group since the '70s when he saw Barbra Streisand's A Star in Born and he had the brilliant idea for a trio of ladies to sing about sex in their underwear. They would be called The Hookers.

He formed the group with Denise Matthews as the frontwoman. Prince had wanted to call Matthews Vagina, but Matthews took a hard pass on that one and chose Vanity instead. Thus the group was dubbed Vanity 6. The six referring to the number of their breasts.

So, yeah, Prince was kind of a perv. But "Nasty Girl" is one of the masterpieces he was just tossing out in the early-80s. Its pulsating post-disco beat would prove the perfect sample for Britney's "I'm a Slave 4 U," which--as any Britney stan knows--is peak Britney.

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The rest of Vanity 6's self-titled album didn't live up to "Nasty Girl"--though "He's So Dull," "Wet Dream" and especially "If a Girl Answers (Don't Hang Up)" featuring Prince as a wronged woman who is not having any of Vanity's shenanigans came close enough.

vanity 6

Vanity left Vanity 6 and Prince (both as his lover and protege) in 1983, before she was scheduled to appear with him in Purple Rain. The part, and the group, went to Apollonia and Apollonia 6 released their own sexually charged anthem, "Sex Shooter."

But it's no "Nasty Girl." Few songs have ever been so gloriously trashy or so perfectly perverse. And the '80s dancing was so on point.

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Though Vanity distanced herself from the song later in life, it remains an essential bit of funk and a reminder of a time when Prince could openly do whatever the fuck he wanted. For better and for worse. Check it out below:

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