A documentary about the life of Rick James is coming to Showtime soon. Sacha Jenkins has directed Bitchin’: The Sound and Fury of Rick James. The film looks at James’s career and his triumph as the King of Punk-Funk in the ’80s. There is rare performance footage, interviews with friends, colleagues and recorded interviews with James. “Super Freak,” “Mary Jane” and “Give It To Me Baby” were the hits that established his wild man image in pop culture. He also became just as known for the songs he wrote for Teena Marie, The Mary Jane Girls, Eddie Murphy, The Temptations and Smokey Robinson. By the early ’90s, James had faded away because of legal problems connected to his drug use.
MC Hammer sampled “Super Freak” for his 1990 hit “U Can’t Touch This” and gave James his biggest presence on the charts after his career peaked.
In 2004 a new generation was introduced to him thanks to Charlie Murphy’s celebrity stories on Chappelle’s Show. Rick James on Dave Chappelle became its own moment (I’m Rick James B*&+&!) and just as he became popular again he passed later that year.
Bitchin’: The Sound and Fury of Rick James premiered at the Tribeca Festival Tuesday. Showtime purchased the rights to the film but no air date has been revealed.