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Republic Records founder and CEO Monte Lipman still remembers his first Prince-related negotiation. He was in college at University of Albany, SUNY, and headed to his local record store to buy the “Little Red Corvette” single, only to find them sold out. He asked the cashier how long until a new shipment would come in, and was told two weeks. Lipman went back to his dorm room, took out a calendar, and started marking off the days.

Two decades later, Lipman would end up working with Prince for three years, plotting the Universal release of “3121,” which notched Prince his final career No. 1 album in 2006, and which Lipman remembers as “a real turning point in my career.

“He was always so disciplined,” he says. “Not just professionally and musically, but even the way he would sit, the way he would eat, it was always so controlled.”

And Prince insisted on a similar degree of control from his label representatives.

“I remember when we were finalizing the deal and shaking hands, he said, ‘Anyone who represents me needs to look the part,’ so I needed to have a tie, a suit and nice shoes whenever I was representing him. He never had any meetings until after midnight. He was living in L.A. at the time, and whenever I’d fly in from New York to meet him, I’d always hit up Neiman Marcus to get a new suit beforehand. Because that was part of our deal.”

“He would tend to ask us things where you’d say, ‘Is my man mad? Or is he some kind of genius?’ He would always ask me, ‘what’s your plan to sell 100 million albums?’ And as a record label person, you think, well, that’s impossible. You can’t sell 100 million copies. But he’d antagonize you until it really affected you philosophically, and you’d think, well, why not? Why can’t we sell 100 million? And how would we do that?

“Prince loved to spar, verbally. He’d do that for sport, I think.”

Lipman recalls how his conversations with Prince shaped his view of artist relationships going forward: “The thing I’ll never say aloud, is I’ll never talk about ‘signing’ an artist. Prince used to ask, ‘what does it mean to sign another human being? How can you do that?’ So I always think of deals as being creative partnerships.

“Prince was just an incredibly decent, honest man. One word I don’t like to use for anyone is genius, but he was a genius, in so many different ways.”