"I Hate U" (also spelled "Eye Hate U" to reflect the pictograph in the published title) is a song by Prince from his 1995album The Gold Experience. The track was the lead single in support of the album, released on September 12, 1995. "I Hate U" was nearly a solo effort from Prince, although he credited Minneapolis musician Ricky Peterson with co-production and arranging, as well as providing additional keyboards.
Beginning with crashing drums, the "NPG Operator" welcomes the listener to "The Hate Experience" (which Prince would later entitle the song's maxi-single), before leading into the first verse where Prince sings in delicate falsetto about a cheating woman, whom he hates "like a day without sunshine". A church-like organ moves the song along, while a musical segment borrowed from "Baby" (a track from his 1978 album For You) provides breaks throughout the track. After the second verse and chorus, the song enters a lengthy middle section which is sung/spoken in Prince's normal voice. This section is a "courtroom drama" where Prince submits his evidence of his cheating lover to a judge. When he asks the woman to state her name for the court, he interrupts her with a vocal reference from the album's previous track — "Billy Jack Bitch". Toward the end of the drama, he states that being without her is killing him emotionally and that he actually still loves her. After a final chorus, again using an impassioned falsetto, Prince launches into a brief but effective guitar solo which climaxes and ends the song.
"I Hate U" is, to date, Prince's last original single to reach the U.S. Top 40. (His earlier hit, "1999" did sneak back into the Top 40 in the song's namesake year, peaking at #40, but this was a reissued single, not a new release and in 1996 "Betcha by Golly Wow!" from Emancipation made the Top 40, but all of the singles from Emancipation were promotional in the U.S. so they were not allowed to chart on the Hot 100, only on the Hot 100 Airplay).
"I Hate U" was very successful on the charts. It peaked within the top 10 of the R&B/Hip-Hop & Rhythmic Charts and it reached #12 on the Billboard Hot 100. Unlike the last two Prince singles, "I Hate U" was less successful on Mainstream/Top 40 radio as it didn't chart on the Billboard Top 40 Mainstream chart. It did however receive minor Mainstream/Top 40 airplay as it did chart it the lower Top 35 of the Mediabase / Radio+Records CHR/Pop Airplay chart. In the UK, "I Hate U" peaked at #20.
|U.S. BillboardHot 100||12|
|U.S. BillboardHot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs||3|
|U.S. BillboardRhythmic Top 40||9|
|U.S. Radio+Records CHR/Pop Airplay||36|
|UK Singles Chart||20|
There is an unreleased video circulating amongst Prince collectors of this single. It features Prince's then-fiancee Mayte Garcia, dancing in some shots and Prince telling Mayte off in the courtroom, and Michael Bland (part of The New Power Generation) as the judge.
The single's B-side was an instrumental "Quiet Night Mix" of "I Hate U" featuring long-time collaborator Eric Leeds on saxophone. A maxi single on CD and vinylincluded several remixes of the track. The most notable was an extended remix which omitted the "courtroom drama" and featured Prince delivering much more personal lyrics. A rumor at the time was that the lyrics of this version referred to Carmen Electra (whom Prince had worked with and dated for a time) after it was discovered that she "gave her body to" N.P.G. member Tony M. "in the name of fun". Other versions of the song were various edits. The Japanese CD single was unique in that it included the album version of "Endorphinmachine" as an extra track.