Rick James

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  • Street Songs

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About Rick James

Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Rick James made bold, risk-taking funk and R&B music that—combined with an electric personality—made him an icon. • Born in Buffalo, James joined the Naval Reserve as a teenaer to avoid being drafted into the US Army during the Vietnam War. He later deserted and fled to Toronto. • In 1964, he joined the Toronto R&B-rock fusion band The Mynah Birds, which included future rock superstar Neil Young. • James’ 1978 debut album, Come Get It! featured the R&B smashes "You and I" and "Mary Jane.” • His fifth album, 1981’s Street Songs, spawned two of his signature hits: “Give It To Me Baby” and the raunchy, Grammy-nominated “Super Freak.” • In 1990, MC Hammer sampled “Super Freak” for his hit single “U Can’t Touch This,” which earned both artists a Grammy for Best R&B Song. • Prior to his death in 2004, James re-entered the pop-culture sphere with an appearance on Comedy Central’s Chappelle's Show. The sketch introduced the iconic catchphrase, "I'm Rick James, bitch!"

Buffalo, NY, United States
February 1, 1948

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