USMagazine, Thursday, January 24, 2013, 1:30pm (PST)
He may be famously sparing in his words, but when Prince speaks, he speaks with a purpose. The singer revived some long-standing beef with Madonna in a recent interview with Billboard magazine nearly two years after the pair supposedly cooled off their fiery feud.
The 54-year-old singer, who covers the latest issue, speaks a lot about music ownership in the new interview, and at one point even calls the Material Girl out by name when talk turns to his time with Warner Bros. Records.
"It was always about Madonna," he tells the magazine, explaining why his relationship with the record label went sour. "She was getting paid, but at the same time we were selling more records and selling out concerts on multiple nights."
Prince and Madonna, also 54, famously tussled in the public eye after briefly dating in 1985 and collaborating on Madonna's track "Love Song" from her 1988 album Like a Prayer.
"[He] was a little troll," she said during a 1994 interview, recalling one of their earlier dates. "He was just sipping tea, very daintily. I have this theory about people who don't eat. They annoy me."
Prince similarly kept the public feud going several years later, when he snidely compared the number of his chart-topping songs to Madonna’s many children.
"I got so many hits y'all can't handle me," he said during a 2007 concert in London. "I got more hits than Madonna's got kids."
In the Billboard interview, Prince also takes issue with one of today's biggest pop artists: Maroon 5.
The Adam Levine-fronted band featured a recorded version of a cover of Prince’s hit "Kiss" on their 2012 album Overexposed, and the artist formerly known as The Artist Formerly Known as Prince was not too pleased.
"Why do we need to hear another cover of a song someone else did?" he quips in the interview, noting that he has no problem with artists performing covers during live shows. "Art is about building a new foundation, not just laying something on top of what's already there."
Prince will be honored with the 2013 Icon Award at the Billboard Music Awards Ceremony in Las Vegas on May 19.