Documentaries and biopics have always been a great way to give an in-depth look into the lives of many figures that we have grown to love over time. On September 3rd, Showtime will premiere “Bitchin, The Sound and Fury of Rick James.” A powerful documentary about one of the most controversial, legendary and most underappreciated figures to ever grace the music industry.
The documentary focuses on the legacy of Rick James, his confrontations such as his documented prison term for sexual misconduct, and the great music that poured out of his soul. What I love about James is before Michael Jackson ever made his hit album and video Thriller, James pioneered making groundbreaking music videos, bringing a raunchy and creative style to his hits that he is known for such as “Super Freak” and “Give it to Me.” His outfits and the way he wore his hair were both exhilarating and fresh. Another song of his, “Mary Jane” is one of the most played songs to this day and has appeared in numerous cult classic films over the years.
One thing about James is that he was upfront and unapologetic about his drug habits, his beliefs and his sexuality. If you attended a performance by James, there’s no question why he is one of the most polarizing stars in the history of R&B and popular music.
One artist he left his imprint on is Prince. I can tell that Rick James truly influenced and inspired him to be expressive in his music and wardrobe. James collaborated with some of the greatest artists ever such as The Temptations, Teena Marie and Smokey Robinson.
Millennials probably got their first glimpse of James when he performed a parody with Dave Chappelle on the Chappelle Show which showed that he possessed great acting skills as well. This new documentary was put together by Emmy-nominee Sacha Jenkins.
Rick James died on August 6th, 2004 of a heart attack. He was 56 years old. His wild side kind of overshadowed him being a musical genius. But no one can change his imprint and the great catalog that he left behind. When it comes to an artist being himself and wearing his heart on his sleeve. I don’t think there will ever be another like Rick James.