Rick James Docu Reveals How His Coke Addiction Seemingly Helped Launch Lionel Richie’s Career, Details Issues He Had With Prince
Rick James’ new documentary, Bitchin: The Sound and Fury of Rick James, premiered Tuesday night (June 15) at the TriBeCa Film Festival and was filled with many shocking details about the late musician’s life. Rick James, born James Johnson Jr., was a superstar entertainer who initially started his rise to fame in the 1960s. Rick James had many hits under his belt before his passing in 2004, including the well-known song Super Freak.
Even though Rick James was very talented it’s no secret that he struggled with drug abuse. The documentary about Rick James’ life gives key details about how much drugs affected his behavior and livelihood. During the film, the eldest son of Motown Records founder shares that Rick James, who was reportedly frustrated by low sales for his 1982 album “Throwin’ Down” and its accompanying tour, once did coke off of the then president of Motown Records’, Jay Lasker, desk. According to the film, Rick James then jumped on top of the desk, took his genitals out of his pants, and shoved them into Lasker’s face while yelling,
“Sell my g*dd*** record!”
Because of that incident, Lasker decided to put all of Motown’s energy behind a different star of the label, Lionel Richie, according to the film.
The film also reveals the complicated friendship that Rick James had with fellow late musician Prince. While speaking on their relationship music critic Steven Ivory said,
“Rick had a love-hate relationship with Prince. He loved him because he loved what Prince was about—he loved the swagger, he loved the music. He hated him because Prince gave him heat.”
Bootsy Collins of Parliament-Funkadelic added,
“Rick definitely had an attitude with Prince. They just was competin’ with one another.”
Rick James’ former manager, Kerry Gordy, also spoke on James’ feelings towards Prince.
“Rick would go ‘ooh-ooh!’, and his audience would go crazy every time he would do that, and Prince would start doing the ooh-ooh! before Rick would come out. Rick was like, ‘Man, you can’t do that ooh-ooh! stuff, that’s what I do!’ And Prince was like, ‘Dude, you don’t have a monopoly on ooh-ooh! I can do what the f*ck I wanna do!’”
Even though Rick James had a reputation of being a sexual person his ex-wife, Tanya Hijazi, shared during the documentary that wasn’t necessarily true. She said,
“His sexual exploits were more ‘You do that to that person. Let me watch. I wanna orchestrate some sh*t over here.’ He wasn’t personally involved. He was not that kind of super freak. He didn’t let people touch him. He wasn’t, like, in the orgy — he would watch the orgy.”
Rick James’ documentary can be streamed at selected times on TriBeCa’s website and will be available later this year on Showtime.
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