I knew I would need to say something about Super Freak passing on. Delayed it almost a week. Well, today's the day, biscuit.
"She likes the boys in the band/She says that I'm her all-time favorite/When I make my move to her room it's the right time/She's never hard to please ...
Three's not a crowd to her, she says/Room 714 I'll be waiting/When I get there she's got incense, wine and candles/It's such a freaky scene."
Is that not the poet laureate's finest tome? Actually, people born in the late 70's as I was remember Rick James not for being "Super Freak" or for producing the Mary Jane Girls, but as the answer to two trivia questions:
1) Who wrote the bass line for M.C. Hammer's smash hit "U Can't Touch This"?
2) Which character on Chappelle's Show uttered the catch phrase "I'm Rick James, Bitch!"
Both of these questions bring enough crocodile tears into my eyewells to fill the river Thames.
First off, M.C. Hammer ripped off the old boy Rick. Let's face it. Hammer was Puff Daddy when Puffy was still in Pampers. I think Puffy should still be in Pampers, but that's another column. M.C. Hammer was a one-trick pony. Take a bass line or lick from a real musician, dance around in baggy Hefty-bag pants over massive fans so the pants poof out, and "rap" about not quitting because you're too legitimate. Legitimate? Talk to me when you write your own music. I'm upset now. Give me a minute to compose myself.
There I'm better. Where was I? Oh yes. Hammer. I hated him in 1990, but I hate him more now that in every obituary of Rick James, they mention M.C. Tool. He doesn't deserve to be in the same league with Rick. If I read an obituary of Stanley Burrell (oh, you didn't know Hammer was a stage name? oh well. By the way, there's no Santa Claus either) and it mentions Rick James, I am going to excrete an oblong chunk of cement.
However, the fact that Rick James is the answer to #2 does not upset me nearly as much. Rather than rip off the old boy, Dave Chappelle does a nice impersonation of him -- one that is endorsed by none other than Rick James, as evidenced by his involvement in the episode. Long out of the mainstream public eye (further proof that the mainstream public eye is legally blind...but that's a topic for a more cerebral blogger, like kadavy. are you reading, dave? you're always stumped for topics -- I just gave you one. Knock yourself out.) James had a mini-resurgence among people old enough to remember him the first time around.
The sad thing is, the demographic for Chappelle's Show is 12-18 year old males. Talking to kids that age, they have no idea who Rick James was. A friend of mine who teaches high school was upset that her kids were saying, "I'm Rick James, Bitch!" in class. She asked them, "Do you know who Rick James is?" Their reply:
"Yeah! He's this really funny character on Chappelle's Show!"
OMG. A character on a sketch comedy show. Like Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer. Or Lothar of the Hill People. He was a real person, kids. A damn weird person who smoked joints and had dangerous sexual habits, and served two prison terms for assault, no doubt. But he was and will always be, Super Freak.
Godspeed, Rick James. You might not be able to fight Charlie Murphy up there in that Studio 54 in the sky, but I think his older brother is there, haven't seen him in years, he must be dead.