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Rick James dead.
August 6, 2004 12:28 PM   Subscribe

Rick James dead. Big red breaking news box at CNN.com, also here. :(
posted by adampsyche (64 comments total)

 
With incredible respect for the dead, but I figure Rick James himself might enjoy the joke:
I guess it goes to show, no matter how healthy you live ...
posted by Peter H at 12:34 PM on August 6, 2004


WTF? 56? Who dies of "natural causes" at 56?
posted by soyjoy at 12:37 PM on August 6, 2004


WTF? 56? Who dies of "natural causes" at 56?

Well, cocaine's a hell of a drug.
posted by jonmc at 12:39 PM on August 6, 2004


dammit. jon beat me to it
posted by dogmatic at 12:40 PM on August 6, 2004


In terms of importance, Rick James is somewhere below the inventor of the citronella candle. But it might be a good post if we don't get 30 people doing Dave Chapelle imitations in text on the frigging internet. Seriously, don't.
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:41 PM on August 6, 2004


Cold blooded...
posted by dogmatic at 12:44 PM on August 6, 2004


One could say that cocaine is natural, I suppose ...

I just have the feeling that I'm going to be hating "Superfreak" (in 5 to 15 second segments) by Monday.
posted by grabbingsand at 12:47 PM on August 6, 2004


The guy was a hell of a good musician, regardless of what he was, what he did, or what drugs he took outside of the studio. The grooves he lay down are part of the musical lexicon now, and they've been sampled by everyone who needs something funky, the same way James Brown's beats were before him.

Seriously. The guy was a knucklehead, but at his best he brought the funky as much as anyone.

And with his Chappelle-fueled renaissance cut short, there was a possibility he would have had a serious reawakening. Which makes this a bit more of a loss than otherwise.
posted by chicobangs at 12:47 PM on August 6, 2004


Alright, I'm exposing my innate nerdiness (not to mention my age) here, but when I took a disco dancing class back in 197-, one of the oft-repeated songs we learned to was "You and I" by Rick James.

Rest In Peace, SuperFreaky One.
posted by Oriole Adams at 12:48 PM on August 6, 2004


RICK JAMES TWO THREAD SHOOTOUT
posted by Peter H at 12:50 PM on August 6, 2004


two threads enter ... one thread leaves ...
posted by milovoo at 12:52 PM on August 6, 2004


In other news, David Chapelle is looking for a new meal ticket catchphrase star.
posted by angry modem at 12:53 PM on August 6, 2004


I heard he was going to do a reality show with Chappelle, too. Can this be confirmed?
posted by adampsyche at 12:53 PM on August 6, 2004


I'm looking forward to all the rehashed Rick James/Dave Chappelle jokes I'm going to hear this weekend!

Wait--what's the opposite of "looking forward to"? That's what I meant.
posted by dhoyt at 12:55 PM on August 6, 2004


Fuck your couch, Mayor Curley, fuck your couch.
posted by yerfatma at 12:56 PM on August 6, 2004


David Chapelle is looking for a new meal ticket catchphrase star.

Lord knows a guy who just signed a $50 million development deal needs a meal ticket.
posted by yerfatma at 12:58 PM on August 6, 2004


Anyone else remember the 2000s VH1 celebrity panel show "The List?" There was an episode where Rick James was on (with laryngitis). The topic for debate was who was the best artist of the 1980s, with each panel member making selections. When Rick James revealed his #1 pick, it was.... Rick James.

(warning: terrible Tripod site)
posted by ALongDecember at 12:58 PM on August 6, 2004


I love how every time some 90 year old guy dies, we get a thread full of "this is so sad" and cheesey single periods, but everyone here just wants to talk about Chappelle. But James was a drug addict, so his death is funny.
posted by jpoulos at 1:03 PM on August 6, 2004


Well, cocaine's a hell of a drug.

What, you're saying that the folks who wrote "natural causes" were on cocaine? I guess that explains it...
posted by soyjoy at 1:03 PM on August 6, 2004


I saw that show on VH1 and remember it, longdecember.

I heard this week that Chappelle was going to do a movie of the Rick James character, but I bet that deal is sunk now.

I never tired of the superfreak song, even when it resurfaced as Hammer's You Can't Touch This. RIP, Rick James.
posted by mathowie at 1:04 PM on August 6, 2004


Chappelle has plenty of meal tickets (Yay-uh!) and characters he can visit. Not only that, he was pretty much done with doing Rick James on the show. He got it all out of the way at once.

The biopic he was working on, though, is going to have to change now.
posted by chicobangs at 1:04 PM on August 6, 2004


What a bummer!

I just re-watched Chappelle's Show on Rick James and it about freakin' killed me.

Cocaine's a hell of a drug! Indeed.

Travel well, Super Freak!

PS I'm not Rick James, bitch!
posted by fenriq at 1:05 PM on August 6, 2004


to continue outlawyr's Super pike joke on now defeated thread

Super Meek
posted by Peter H at 1:06 PM on August 6, 2004


It is incredible that the AP obituary mentions James' first band without mentioning that band's lead guitarist: Neil Young, the whitest rock star ever. And the fact that they were on the Motown label together, before James broke 'em up by getting arrested for desertion from the U.S. Navy.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 1:07 PM on August 6, 2004


[tasteless]

RJ epitaph: "Ahh, darkness!"

[/tasteless]
posted by adampsyche at 1:12 PM on August 6, 2004


I love how every time some 90 year old guy dies, we get a thread full of "this is so sad" and cheesey single periods, but everyone here just wants to talk about Chappelle. But James was a drug addict, so his death is funny.

Well, everybody's death is funny, if you look at it right.

I don't recall you getting so indignant in the Reagan thread, where the humor was a lot meaner (perhaps justifiably, perhaps not). I don't wish anyone dead, and FWIW, I enjoyed some of Rick James music, but just like Reagan, he did plenty that made him worthy of mockery.
posted by jonmc at 1:14 PM on August 6, 2004


WTF? 56? Who dies of "natural causes" at 56?

it's super freaky.
posted by crunchland at 1:23 PM on August 6, 2004


So was he 56 or 52? And don't go tellin' me that cocaine is so powerful you begin to grow younger the moment you die.
posted by soyjoy at 1:27 PM on August 6, 2004


...one of the oft-repeated songs we learned to was "You and I" by Rick James.

Oriole: I heard that. His debut album Come Get It stayed on many a turntable where I was. Just hearing the intro of You And I was enough to break the collective will.

chico: Agreed, back there. James wasn't always as good as his debut or Street Songs, and his real-life super-freak past certainly soiled his bio and shortened his years, but he owned a funky section of the musical world for a good while, and for that he'll get appreciation.
posted by LinusMines at 1:30 PM on August 6, 2004


I demand that I may or may not be Broomfondle, bitch!
posted by Pretty_Generic at 1:30 PM on August 6, 2004


Oh, how I remember his triumphant fist pumping in the sound booth during the Eddie Murphy "Party all the time" video. Such loss.
posted by machaus at 1:31 PM on August 6, 2004


I don't recall you getting so indignant in the Reagan thread, where the humor was a lot meaner (perhaps justifiably, perhaps not).

It's tough to draw a parallel between someone who did a whole lot to kill thousands of people, and a drug-addicted, washed up singer. Rick James just seemed kind of sad to me, but as Mr. Bangs said, he had the funk (or so some of my more funkified brethren have told me).

It seems like crying "REAGAN!" is the new Godwin's Law.
posted by Kafkaesque at 1:42 PM on August 6, 2004


kaf, I'm not so much trying to draw a paralell between the two men, so much as to refute the implication that by cracking relatively harmless and obvious jokes, we're somehow celebrating James' death.

And, as far as bringing the funk goes, I can think of literally a hundred artists who brought more funk than RJ did. He was a talented one hit wonder who self-destrcuted and almost took some people with him. An early death does not up one's artistic worth.
posted by jonmc at 1:47 PM on August 6, 2004


OK then.


........
........
........



(cornrows)
posted by Kafkaesque at 1:50 PM on August 6, 2004


I'm zombie Rick James, bitch!
posted by reklaw at 1:53 PM on August 6, 2004


He had more than just the one hit, jon. There was only the one that crossed over into white-folks-weddingland, but he had a string of R&B hits, many of which have become the bed tracks for other songs that are getting worlds of airplay now.

He might not have had the staying power of a George Clinton or a Prince, but while he was on his game, he was their equal.
posted by chicobangs at 1:54 PM on August 6, 2004


I challenge jonmc to name the hundred artists who brought more funk than RJ did. I can come up with about 23, then I run dry. And remember, this excludes anyone whose bringing of the funk entailed sampling Rick James.
posted by soyjoy at 2:02 PM on August 6, 2004


And, as far as bringing the funk goes, I can think of literally a hundred artists who brought more funk than RJ did.

really?

let's see ya do it.
posted by lord_wolf at 2:02 PM on August 6, 2004


well, there was that mel dude who played bass in grand funk railroad.
posted by quonsar at 2:11 PM on August 6, 2004


seriously. i love you, Rick James!
posted by mrgrimm at 2:15 PM on August 6, 2004


So you can all get it out of your system: Rick James soundboard.
posted by adampsyche at 2:19 PM on August 6, 2004


No, seriously. Let's see you do it. Rick James was surprisingly influential.

As to the Dave Chapelle thing, I'm pretty sure he is as sick of the 'I'm Rick James, Bitch' thing as the rest of us. At least if this encounter is any indication of his current mindset.
posted by amauck at 2:20 PM on August 6, 2004


Looks like we all learned a valuable lesson. Long-term heavy use of cocaine and/or its derivatives puts a whole hell of a lot of stress on your heart. Anyone want to put bets on it being heart failure? I bet his heart was something like a 90 year old man.

And Rick James does deserve all the hate he gets. Let's not forget the sexual assault and crack pipe incident, shall we? Dave Chapelle just put a humorous face on a very bad person.

And if I have to hear another white college freshman yell "I'm Rick James, bitch" into their phone as they're drunk and walking home... I'm going to get superfreaky on them.
posted by geoff. at 2:53 PM on August 6, 2004


Um, P_G... it's "Vroomfondel." And you don't have to demand it.

/nerd

Don't forget the James Gang's "Funk 49" with good ol' Joe Walsh. James... Funk...

Coincidence??? I THINK NOT!!

Bummer for Rick tho. He was badass. Too young.
posted by zoogleplex at 2:54 PM on August 6, 2004


The strangest "Brush With Celebrity" of my life was when I did jury duty at the same courthouse as his 1992 assault case; I wasn't on his jury, but I was one of those inconvenienced by the Media Mob, which was small by Celebrity Trial standards.

After my own congestive heart failure 1.5 years ago, I am so relieved to have outlived him.
posted by wendell at 2:57 PM on August 6, 2004


Hey, zoogleplex, I'm a radio-play-only-kinda-guy.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 3:15 PM on August 6, 2004


wait, cocaine's bad for you?
posted by NationalKato at 3:50 PM on August 6, 2004


Every time the local anchor mentioned it in the ads/teasers for the broadcast I kept hearing it as "Folk singer Rick James dies" as opposed to funk - amused the hell out of me as a visual.
posted by terrortubby at 4:23 PM on August 6, 2004


I challenge jonmc to name the hundred artists who brought more funk than RJ did.

1. Funkadelic 2. James Brown 3. Mandrill 4. Earth, Wind & Fire 5. War 6. The Temptations 8. Sly & The Family Stone 9. Bootsy Collins 10. The Commodores 11. Alphonse Mouzon 12. Miles Davis 13. Jimi Hendrix 14. Buddy Miles 15. Billy Cobham 16. Alvin Cash 17. Ann Peebles 18. Archie Bell & The Drells 19. Arthur Conley 20. Bernard "Pretty" Purdie 21. Black Nasty 22. Bobby Byrd 23. Boogaloo Joe Jones 24. Brothers Johnson 25. Bull & The Matadors 26. Candi Staton 27. Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band 28. Cymande 29. Denise LaSalle 30. Deodato 31. Lee Dorsey 32. Dr. John 33. Eddie Hazel 34. The Fabulous Counts 35. Fishbone 36. Gil Scott-Heron 37. Incredible Bongo Band 38. Isley Brothers 39. Betty Wright 40. Joe Bataan 41. Willie Bobo 42. Joe Tex 43. Junior Walker & The All-Stars 44. Graham Central Station 45. Leon Haywood 46. Leroy Hutson 47. Chic 48. Lonnie Liston Smith 49. Manu DiBango 50. The Meters 51. Marva Whitney 52. The Ohio Players 53. The O'Jays 54. Mongo Santamaria 55. Monk Higgins 56. ConFunkShun 57. Oliver Sain 58. Rufus Thomas 59. Pazant Brothers 60. Curtis Mayfield 61. Prince 62. Average White Band 63. Ripple 64. Stevie Wonder 65. Staple Singers 66. Little Joe & The Latinaires 67. ...

and all right, I'm shot, but that's 67 artists (sme obscure, but still funkier than James' ouevre. And that's just what's in my relatively small funk collection.
posted by jonmc at 5:08 PM on August 6, 2004


seriously, who gives a fuck about drug use? "he was a good guy regardless of his side vices" -- makes me cringe

just leave it at "he was a good guy" -- and turn off the television.
posted by Satapher at 5:34 PM on August 6, 2004


Francis Crick, 31
Rick James, 52 (and counting)

Stop the world, I want to get off.
posted by rushmc at 5:45 PM on August 6, 2004


It's not a value judgement on the two men, rush. More people listen to music than are deeply interested in genetics. Mainly because the former is a lot easier to understand and a lot more fun.
posted by jonmc at 5:53 PM on August 6, 2004


many of the comments are taking the piss anyway.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 6:04 PM on August 6, 2004


Also, Francis Crick was not very well known for cocaine-induced psychotic fits. He was a bit of a Jerk in person, but not in a way that elicits a lot of comments.
posted by amauck at 6:47 PM on August 6, 2004


Plus, Francis Crick severely obstructed the acceptance of the reality of Lucid Dreaming, which Rick James never, ever did.
posted by soyjoy at 8:23 PM on August 6, 2004


and all right, I'm shot, but that's 67 artists (sme obscure, but still funkier than James' ouevre. And that's just what's in my relatively small funk collection.

Gil Scott Heron ?
Alphonse Mouzon ?
Deodato ?

While the popularity of the mongrel doggerel of Heron continues to baffle many, the other two mediocrities named above proves mainly that you have read and memorized the backs of many album covers--something never in doubt. James had a couple of grooves and his fifteen minutes--in that we most likely agree. However, unless you can name some tunes by, say, Deodato or Mouzon that count as important contributions to the musical genre Funk and make a credible explanation as to why you think so, your lazy laundry list above stands as even more ridiculous than your original assertion.

Funk, in the opinion of many, began as a style of music with James Brown's Out of Sight. James Brown is Funk--no doubt about that.

Although Godfather of Soul appears to have invented the genre Funk via his merciless band rehearsals--it's all on the One and here comes the bridge!--Southern R&B of the 60s aka Soul music is not Funk. Ann Peebles is not Funk. Archie Bell and the Drells are not Funk. Jr. Walker is not Funk. Funky the adjective |= Funk the musical genre. 60s Soul music and 70s Funk are two very distinctly different styles of music.
posted by y2karl at 9:06 PM on August 6, 2004


However, unless you can name some tunes by, say, Deodato or Mouzon that count as important contributions to the musical genre Funk and make a credible explanation as to why you think so, your lazy laundry list above stands as even more ridiculous than your original assertion.

Bullshit.

My assertion is that artists mentioned above produced better funky music than Rick James. And yes, I realize that's somewhat subjective. But, (like you I imagine) I'm somewhat irritated at people throwing up Rick James as some exemplar of all things funky, when all the artists above have contributed works that were better than "Superfreak." "Historical Importance" is not the only measure of a song, or an artist, karl. Sometimes there's just the sheer pleasure of listening to it. And besides, I think even you'll admit that the barriers between funk and funky soul are hazy and Archie Bell and the Drells "Tighten Up" Peebles "Come To Mama" and "I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down," and Junior Walker's "Pucker Up Buttercup" are all post-funk, if you're in the mood to split hairs, which stikes me as higher and more lasting quality than James' admittedly catchy radio-freindly grooves.

I'll leave the obnoxious baiting of your comment (proves mainly that you have read and memorized the backs of many album covers--something never in doubt.) alone, since pissing contests prove nothing and ruin everybody's shoes.
posted by jonmc at 9:33 PM on August 6, 2004


An early death does not up one's artistic worth.

Tell that to James Dean and Marilyn Monroe.
posted by crunchland at 9:33 PM on August 6, 2004


Tell that to James Dean and Marilyn Monroe.

Theier deaths upped their commercial worth crunchland. The rest is a lot of death cult bullshit.
posted by jonmc at 9:39 PM on August 6, 2004


I disagree. I think people pay more attention to the work they did in their movies because they died young. I don't really think James Dean would have has much in the way of longevity had he not died early... though there's really no way to tell or argue that.
posted by crunchland at 9:48 PM on August 6, 2004


Anyway. Topic.

When Smokey is saying, "To me, he's like the original R&B rock star. He created another kind of rhythmic style for R&B music," and Berry Gordy is saying "His creative abilities, his instincts about music and production were just awesome. [Rick James was] a pioneer who took Motown in a whole new direction," you have in fact succeeded in leaving a certain kind of musical legacy.

And those two, unlike us, get a say in how Rick's legacy is formed.
posted by chicobangs at 9:57 PM on August 6, 2004


Why, he was Rick James, you philandering dog of the female gender!
posted by blasdelf at 11:38 PM on August 6, 2004


the other two mediocrities named above proves mainly that you have read and memorized the backs of many album covers--something never in doubt.

your lazy laundry list above stands as even more ridiculous than your original assertion.


The Condescenion is high in this thread.

Yeesh.
posted by dhoyt at 10:12 AM on August 7, 2004


Look, who's talking--the all time smack talker, pot and cheap shot taker and world's biggest comedian in his own mind on MetaFilter--dhoyt. Gaze upon all those elevated and witty comments, folks. That's the extent of about 90% of dhoyt's contribution here--trash talking at the expense of another member.
posted by y2karl at 12:33 PM on August 9, 2004


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