Legendary funk singer Rick James died early today in his home in Los Angeles of natural causes at the age of 56. His 1981 album, “Street Songs,” was deemed a masterpiece and hits like “Super Freak,” “Mary Jane,” and “Give it To Me Baby” propelled him to International stardom.

Years later, as his fame began to fade, he became involved in drugs, legal problems, and health issues. He successfully sued M.C. Hammer in 1990 for co-writing credit of “U Can’t Touch This,” which was freely based on “Super Freak.” This apparently just gave him money to buy more drugs. He was convicted in 1993 of assaulting a young woman in his home by restraining her and burning her with a hot crack pipe. He served three years in prison for the conviction. In 1997 he released a new album but suffered a stroke while performing less than a year later. In 1998, he also underwent hip replacement surgery.

In 2003 he appeared on the second season of “Chappelle’s Show” as part of a documentary style interview in which he exclaimed, “Cocaine’s a helluva drug!” In the filmed skit, Dave Chappelle played Rick James as he reenacted scenes described by comedian and friend Charlie Murphy, in which Dave exclaimed, “I’m Rick James, bitch!” The phrase is now a part of American pop culture.

Dave Chappelle is reported to be in contract negotiations with Paramount in developing and starring in a biographical film about Rick James’s career and tumultuous life titled “Memoirs of a Super Freak.” Rick will be missed by many.

1 Comment »

  1. Hey, thanks for giving me some knowledge that can increase my mental compacity. (lol) What the hell ever, realy i was wondering if you had more bio’s on other Sucessfull Black Men.

    #1 by D. Holmes — November 25, 2005 @ 2:26 am

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