Published on Monday, August 9, 2010
Rick James. The leading funk R&B musician of the 70’s and early 80’s died August 6th, 2004. In the 1970s, Rick James began the start of his famed career with the popular singles “Mary Jane” and You and I” from his debut album Come Get It. But his 1981 fifth album, Street Songs proved to be his defining work. “Super Freak” (which became his signature, number-one, Grammy-nominated song) and the album cut “Fire and Desire,” featuring protégé Teena Marie moved the album to platinum status.
Throughout the late 80’s and 90’s James was known more for his quite public addiction to crack cocaine then he was for the music. He was incarcerated in 1994 and served two years behind bars. Upon release, he was attempting a comeback and tour, but suffered a stroke that all but ended his music career.
By 2003, the fallen entertainer became recognized by the newer generation following a skit parodying him on Dave Chappelle’s Comedy Central weekly Chappelle’s Show. James left a legacy of funk, spunk and controversy. In the end, the mixture of his personality and his musicality made him the performer all eyes longed to see. Centric Remembers Rick James.