The King of Punk-Funk: Rick James’ Unbelievable Yet Very Real Life

He was Rick James, the Super Freak, the guy you read about and saw Dave Chappelle impersonate. He was the guy who was usually high and lived a roller coaster ride of a life — full of ups, downs, danger, and crazy stories. But amidst all the hoopla, Rick James was actually an amazing musician. But his wild lifestyle eclipsed his extraordinary talent.


Photo by Kip Rano, Shutterstock / Jim Smeal, BEI, Shutterstock / Adam Scull, Shutterstock / Mediapunch, Shutterstock / Atashiain, Mediapunch, Shutterstock

The man was an icon of funk, a rebel of the convention, who blended different styles seamlessly and created numerous hits. He made the acclaimed list of Motown’s greatest and cemented his legacy as the King of Punk-Funk. It got to a point, though, that he became an enemy of his own success. James wasted away his health and career with drugs. But it was also his wacky antics (just watch the Chappelle Show skit) that got him into trouble. For better or worse, James lived life to the beat of his own funky drum. And he served time for it.

This is the unbelievable, yet very real, life of Rick James.