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Funk Legend Rick James Dies


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http://www.cnn.com/2004/SHOWBIZ/Music/08/0...ames/index.html

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(CNN) -- Singer Rick James was found dead in his home Friday morning by his caretaker, a Los Angeles police Department spokesman said.

James, 56, was a musical icon of the early 1980's and credited with helping to create the "punk funk" style of music that was characterized in his 1981 album "Street Songs."

"Street Songs" was widely acclaimed as a masterpiece upon its release and featured such hits as "Super Freak," "Give it To Me Baby," and "Fire and Desire."

"Street Songs" went triple platinum and catapulted James into the forefront of the funk movement.

The album's gritty content earned James a bad boy reputation that he often had a tough time living down. Some critics said it led to his eventual involvement with drugs and a conviction for aggravated assault and false imprisonment in the 1990s.

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LOS ANGELES (Aug. 6) - Funk legend Rick James, best known for the 1981 hit ''Super Freak,'' died Friday, apparently of natural causes, police said.

James died at 9:45 a.m. at a residence near Universal City, said Police Department spokeswoman Esther Reyes.

''We learned of his death after responding to a radio call,'' Reyes said.

After his big hit, James' fame began to fade as he became embroiled in drugs, legal problems and health issues.

James was convicted in 1993 of assaulting two women. The first attack occurred in 1991 when he restrained and burned a young woman with a hot pipe during a cocaine binge at his house in West Hollywood. He was free on bail when the second assault occurred in 1992 in James' hotel room.

James was sentenced to more than two years in state prison.

 

In 1997, he released a new album, but a year later he suffered a stroke while performing at Denver's Mammoth Events Center, derailing a comeback tour.

In 1998 he also underwent hip replacement surgery.

With his trademark Jheri curl, James was one of the biggest R&B stars of the 1980s, using danceable rhythms and passionate ballads to gain a wide following. Aside from ''Super Freak'' - which MC Hammer used a decade later as the backing track for his monster hit ''U Can't Touch This'' - James' hits included ''Mary Jane,'' ''Ebony Eyes'' and ''Fire and Desire,'' a stirring duet with Teena Marie.

:'(

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That sucks. I hope it was something other than an OD, but I doubt it. RIP Rick.

According to Yahoo news, he died of natural causes.

RIP, Rick. Thanks for all the great music.

I severely doubt anyone dies of natural causes at only 56... Either way, RIP Rick.

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That sucks. I hope it was something other than an OD, but I doubt it. RIP Rick.

According to Yahoo news, he died of natural causes.

RIP, Rick. Thanks for all the great music.

I severely doubt anyone dies of natural causes at only 56... Either way, RIP Rick.

I'm sure it was natural causes brought on by previous drug use....but anyway, RIP Superfreak :(

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That sucks. I hope it was something other than an OD, but I doubt it. RIP Rick.

According to Yahoo news, he died of natural causes.

RIP, Rick. Thanks for all the great music.

I severely doubt anyone dies of natural causes at only 56... Either way, RIP Rick.

I'm sure it was natural causes brought on by previous drug use....but anyway, RIP Superfreak :(

Yeah, more or less that's what I'm thinking caused it.

RIP James.

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Looks like Chappelle won't be doing the "Rick James" movie.

You'll be missed Rick James. :(

- The Dork Knight

I dunno..I'm thinking the oppisite. Basically this would be all the more reason for them to do the movie. Sort of like hte upcoming 'Ray' movie. Don't know how much comedy will be added to it now though..

Unfortunately, if someone like Chappelle were to be involved, everyone would be expecting comedy and nothing but. These events will likely lead to the movie being postponed/cancelled, or the content and cast taking a dramatic turn.

A lot of people only knew him from those skits, which is kind of sad given that his musical influence spans two decades in a lot of hip-hop and even rock songwriters.

While his lifestyle was less than stellar, his ability to craft excellent music is something that deserves to be respected for a long time to come.

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Yes, his music was certainly entertaining. The story itself was pretty shocking to me first. I sat through all of everybody's favorite crap-fest (TRL) just to hear more about that story. Unfortunately, there wasn't that much more but I salute the man because his songs were entertaining and it was good to see him get in on poking fun about his life in Chappelle's sketch. RIP

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Yeah, I went to work and was telling people about how he died, and out of the few people who had even heard of him, most only knew him from the Chapelle Show. I mean, everyone's heard the song Super Freak, but even I wouldn't have recognized the name had that show never been made.

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Looks like Chappelle won't be doing the "Rick James" movie.

You'll be missed Rick James. :(

- The Dork Knight

I dunno..I'm thinking the oppisite. Basically this would be all the more reason for them to do the movie. Sort of like hte upcoming 'Ray' movie. Don't know how much comedy will be added to it now though..

This is the problem I have with America... it was fine to make light of Rick James three days ago, but now that he's dead we suddenly have to act totally different. Rick James had no problem making fun of himself on the Chappelle's Show and Chappelle playing him in a bio-pic, why would he mind now? I'd like to think that if there is another life beyond this one, people don't lose their sense of humor. James was a great musician who had a lot of problems in his life but seemed to clean up in his later years. Hey, give me 56 Rick James years and I think I could die happy. I'd rather have 56 Rick James years than 100 years living some boring ass life. And I'd like people to remember me in a light-hearted way, because I'm a light-hearted guy. I'm sure Rick would want the same. Hell, yesterday on the radio station I work at we did a Rick James tribute with Dave Chappelle clips in there, no one got pissed. It's okay to still laugh along with someone when they're dead. Rest in Peace Super Freak, hopefully wherever he is, he's digging his feet in the couch.

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This is the problem I have with America...

yadda yadda...

It's not a double standard it's called respect.. almost similar to it being good ethics not to talk about someone behind their back.

I for one enjoyed the Rick James skits but as somone said some of these younger cats only know him because of that. If a movie was made on him, now I'd rather it be done the right way so that they won't remember him as some running gag.

That's what made the skit work, If Chappelle had just been blasting him then it would have been funny but it would have been dry humor or even distastefull. But having James himself come on and join in giving his side of things made it gold. The same would have gone for the movie. With him now dead, I just think it would be distasteful to make fun of the guy because this time he wouldn't be around to defend himself if things got "ablibbed".

Rip Rick James..

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It's a bio-pic, I would think they're going to do it as it happened. Afterall, there's no way you can make burning a chick with a crack pipe funny. Chappelle did a good impersonation and I think the idea would be to actually give Dave his first serious role. Then again, we don't know how they're gonna do the movie, but I see it now as more of a reason to do the movie. Give Rick a tribute send off.

And there's plenty of respect for Rick James, but just cause the guys dead doesn't mean we can't laugh at the Chappelle skits anymore. I highly doubt Rick would want that. It's not making fun of him behind his back, it's just enjoying something that was funny. Now I'm not saying have Chappelle start this season with something like "I'M DEAD BITCH!" That would be incredibly disrespectful, but everyone doing all this ultra proper stuff like they're at his funeral is just silly.

And it is a double standard, you have to die to get respect in America, you know that's true.

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