He Was Rick James B***h!

I'm a little late on this one, but I couldn't let a modern music legend's passing go by without having my say. Rick James may be gone, but the funk lives on. He may well be best known for Superfreak, but whenever I think of Rick James, I think of Mary Jane. I'd heard it sampled before, the Liks even had a song called Mary Jane on their first album, but I re-discovered it when we found a dirty copy of this song in an old crate of records Shawn came into possession of. Once he put it on the turntables, I became a believer in the cult of Rick James. I've never even smoked the Mary Jane, but I love this song. The bass line twangs like a rubber band, the drums kick along perfectly, there's some classical type piano thrown in, and the flute is unreal. It truly is the jam, I never get tired of it.

When I think of Rick James there's also something else I'll think of: the Eddie Murphy classic Party All The Time. Rick James produced this song as well as played the guitar and featured on backup vocals. This song is one of my guiltiest of guilty pleasures. I heard recently that this song was voted one of the worst songs ever. Hardly. I love it, and I love the video even more. If you haven't seen it, do yourself a favour and find it somewhere. I can't do it justice, but lets just say Eddie is wearing skin-tight leather pants and Rick James has orange hair that looks like a funky mop. Rick is in the both exhorting Eddie on and when he joins him at the mic it's magic.

Rick James was an original, they do not make dudes like that now. They make dudes who think they are like that, but they aren't. Rick James became a star, he knew he was a star, and he expected you to treat him like a star. Simply he didn't give a f**k. Read this 5 part interview with Rick on AllHipHop.com and you'll see what I'm talking about. You might think Dave Chappelle is exaggerating with his Rick James impressions, think again: "'Show my your t*ts b***h' and all that stuff, it was my world and I was the king of it. So if you lived in it, and you didn't do what I said, then get the f**k out!" The magical Eddie Murphy - Rick James connection? Rick James could care less: "Eddie Murphy was a boring moment... it was exciting to take a comedian who has a great voice and give him a hit record." How real did Rick James keep it? "I am not Prince, I don't write stupid s**t. I talk about the streets, love affairs, a fire desire." Hell yeah, f**k Prince and his stupid s**t! Oops, got carried away there, but if you read this article you'll see what I'm talking about.

The timing of Rick's passing is unfortunate. Dave Chappelle's blowup seemed to generate some renewed interest in Rick James and his music. He had already collaborated with man of the hour Kanye West and has a number of other projects in the works. But I'm sure he saw more in his lifetime than 25 guys like me will ever see. So here's to you Rick, you truly were born to funk and roll in the big time.


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