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Rick James: Greatest Hits

By Maximillian Muhammad

Punk-funk, soul mack daddy, Super Freak, wild, crazy, "Dream Maker," loose, uncontrollable...that's Rick James. Born and raised where I was, in Buffalo N.Y., Rick churned out funk in the Parliament vein. An image-maker, the proteges he worked with were rivaled only by that Minneapolis native Prince. In the late 70s and early 80s, Rick ruled funk. His acts consisted of Val Young, Mary Jane Girls, Stone City Band, (remember Danny Lemele on Sax and other cuts?), and the adopted Sister, Lady T, Teena Marie.

Rick's fusion of Funk, Punk, Rock, Pop, Soul, Slow -Jams, spawned such Classics as "Super Freak," (ask M.C.Hammer), "Give It To Me Baby," "Mary Jane," "Dance wit' me," "Cold Blooded," "You and I," "17" and "Ebony Eyes," which was a classic duet on the true words of African-descended women with Smokey Robinson.Yes, there have been hard times for James but his feel-good music continues to "Glow." The famous Bass line in synch with synth-bass, drums bumpin' with the Stone City Horns...a true Funk Orchestration. The sound is still remembered, thanks to Mary J. Blige's second album, "Be Happy."

The Passion on "Fire & Desire" with Teena Marie. Vibying with Roy Ayers on "Dance wit' me," harmonizing with The Temps on "Standing on the Top," partying with Eddie Murphy on "Party All The Time" So much left untold...lets hope he stays focused on the groove. It's time for his next reincarnation. He once was playing with Crosby, Stills and Young, so you know the Man can come back. 'Cuz in his prime, nobody was as "Cold Blooded" as Rick. Plus he accomplished this without being on MTV. So he can hang.

Funk needs it's warrior but not anymore unwanted "Super-Freaky" behaviors. But the door is wide open for fun and funky good times. Will the "Dream Maker" answer the Bell?

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