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Take a peek inside Prince's storied secret vault

For the first time, fans can see the sheer magnitude of work stored in the late singer's basement vault

For the first time, fans can see the sheer magnitude of work stored in the late singer's basement vault

Prince performs at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif., in 1985. A pair of record labels announced April 28, 2017, that Prince oversaw the remastering process in 2015 for Purple Rain Deluxe, which include six previously unreleased songs by the late singer-songwriter. (Liu Heung Shing/Associated Press)

Since Prince's untimely death in 2016, there has been much speculation about what would happen with the revered musician's storied vault, something only his closest inner circle has ever seen. To music fans, it's up there with the ark of the covenant: a vault full of Prince's life work, from original reel-to-reel tapes of classic albums to works we never even knew existed.

Now, as a result of the investigation into his death, the Carver County Sheriff's office has released photos from inside the vault, and they offer a glimpse of the sheer magnitude of work collected in the basement of his Paisley Park studio, including shelves stacked with reels, binders and VHS tapes.

Prince left no will when he passed, and no one knew the combination, so police drilled it open to reveal the contents, with archivists claiming there is enough music there to release a new album every year for the next 100 years.

The full contents of the vault have been meticulously tracked, and, on top of an exhausting amount of music — including everything from a remastered Purple Rain, released last June; endless Batman-inspired works; a duet with Michael Jackson; and the original recording of "Nothing Compares 2 U," released last week — it also includes such odds and ends as a costume for the Minnesota Twins' mascot, 67 gold bars valued at $840,000 USD, and 47 pairs of high-heeled ankle boots, all tagged for the Bata Museum in Toronto.

(Carver County Sheriff's office)
(Carver County Sheriff's office)
(Carver County Sheriff's office)
(Carver County Sheriff's office)
(Carver County Sheriff's office)

Susan Rogers, Prince's former sound engineer who worked with him for over two decades, including on Purple Rain and Sign O' the Times, has said the vault was nearly full when she left in 1987. "Row after row of everything we'd done. I can't imagine what they've done since then," she told the Guardian.

Rogers also spoke to q about her time with Prince for a gateway to Sign O' the Times, which you can listen to via the link below. 

Last week, Prince's estate also released an annotated discography of his work. "The world is only just beginning to understand the full scope of Prince's work, which also included countless unreleased recordings," his website says. "This is the start of an evolving exploration of Prince's genius."

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