"Diamonds and Pearls" is Prince's thirteenth album. The album marked a departure in Prince's sound. It has a strong hip-hop and R&B influence. It also features a live a band on most of the songs for the first time since Purple Rain.
It is credited to Prince and the New Power Generation, who appear on eleven of the thirteen songs. There are accounts by engineers of the studio sessions for this album.
Prince and the NPG played live throughout 1991 and 1992, performing material from Diamonds and Pearls. The Diamonds and Pearls tour ran from April to July 1992. The NPG detailed their equipment in the November 1992 issue of Musician. The rest of the information is taken from photographs and videos from the period.
In the studio
Diamonds and Pearls was recorded between December 1989 and May 1991 at Paisley Park, Larrabee Sound and studios in London and Tokyo. Prince used a Dave Rusan Cloud Guitar and a Hohner Madcat on the album. He was also used his Mesa Boogie/Bag End amplification system and Boss pedals. This album saw Prince use more digital rack effects. He continued to use the Roland GP-16 for pitch shifting and also introduced a Zoom 9030 for multi-effects.
A Fender Gemini II, a cheap acoustic guitar, appears on several songs including Walk Don't Walk. Prince was using Alembic Spoiler and Auerswald Cleo basses around this time so they probably appear on the album.
This period in the 1990s saw the decline of the use of the Linn LM-1 in favour of more modern drum machines. It is likely that the Roland R-8 appears on the record. Prince was also influenced by hip-hop production, and may have used an Akai MPC-60 or S1000 samplers.
For details of the equipment used by the NPG, please see the tour section below.