True Hollywood Story
Like most of his peers wasted by years of drug debauchery in the â€˜80s, James was tossed into the fallen-rock-star scrap heap, even when he tried for a comeback in 1997 with the release of Urban Rhapsody. But a funny thing happened on the way to Rick becoming the answer to a music trivia question. Irreverent comedian Dave Chappelle unveiled a riotous kit on his highly rated Chappelle's Show, parodying cast member Charlie Murphy's (Eddie's brother) hilarious run-ins with James. The episode featured Chappelle as a youngâ€”and obviously coked-outâ€”Rick James in his glory, pimp-slapping a shell-shocked Murphy as he fired off the memorable one-liner, "I'm Rick James, bitch!â€ A good-natured James even popped up to offer laugh-out-loud flashbacks of the funk star getting beat down by the Murphy brothers after indignantly soiling a white couch with his muddy platform boots. Soon the hottest catchphrase since "Show Me the Money!â€ could be heard everywhere from college campuses and neighborhood barbershops to work offices, Internet chat rooms, even ESPN.
So what does Rick make of his reentry to pop culture?
"It has ruined my life,â€ James jokes. He is now draped in a fuschia-on-black flower-print shirt and rhinestone-studded velvet slacks, an outfit more becoming of a funk icon. His walk is notably half a step slower due to a mild stroke he suffered in 1998, but the rock star swagger is still there ("I hope KING is going to have more than one picture of me in this motherfucker!â€ he snaps).