Cold Blooded Unity vs. Pancake Serving Blouses

O(+>: I Hate U (Extended Remix)
From: I Hate U (CD Maxi-Single) (Warner Bros./ Wea, Sep. 19, 1995)

Thematically, my use of the song: I Hate U is to emphasizes the tension(s) between "Cocaine is a hella of drug" (Rick James) and "Blouses" (O(+>). Below find excerpts from five articles eluding to the Punk-Funksters festering disdain:

I'm Rick James, B*tch: The artist behind the Super Freak

A skilled instrumentalist, songwriter, singer, bandleader, and performer, James was an heir to the do-it-all mantle that Prince fooled everybody into believing was his alone. The classic "Rick James sound"—new-wavey synths spread over a barely discernible rock foundation (he shared bandspace with Neil Young early in his career and played a Rickenbacker bass more often adopted by rockers like Paul McCartney than funksters)—was just one color in his sonic palette. As a producer, he knew when to get out of Teena Marie's way, how to make the Mary Jane Girls sound even better, and how to distract listeners from Eddie Murphy's voice (on the Murphy vanity project "Party all the Time"). He could funk with the best of them ("Loosey's Rap") and craft the kind of slow-grind ballads ("Fire and Desire," "Ebony Eyes") that cause birthrate spikes. He fit in with both MC Hammer (whose "U Can't Touch This" spun off James' "Super Freak") and old school stalwarts like Smokey Robinson and the Temptations, both of whom he penned tunes for. Not for nothing did the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers honor him with a Lifetime Achievement Award in June.
Unfortunately, James' salad years coincided with the creation and consolidation of what Black Rock Coalition founders Greg Tate and Vernon Reid called "Apartheid Oriented Radio." It may seem hard to believe, what with urban culture leading the pop world around by its nose nowadays, but MTV didn't consider urban music part of the "rock 'n' roll" universe (read: everything that mattered) until Sony allegedly threatened them with a companywide boycott if they didn't allow Michael Jackson in their rotation. That opened things up for some other megastars—Prince, Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson—leaving the rest to fend for their own on urban-only outlets like BET. The iron curtain separating "urban" (black acts) from "pop" (white acts, and black crossover acts) spawned a whole subgenre of artists—many of them gold- and platinum-selling—who are household names to African-Americans and trivia questions to nearly everyone else: Kashif, Roger Troutman and Zapp, Levert. James crossed over, to be sure, but the core of his listenership still consisted of the ordinary working-class African-Americans who flirted with the jheri curl for a bit, chilled out with Canei wine, and looked at you funny if you didn't know who Donnie Simpson was.
The fact that 1980s funk and soul is still searching for its place in the retrospective pop timeline makes it even tougher to contextualize James. It was sandwiched between the '70s creative whirlwind (Sly, James Brown, P-Funk, the Isley Brothers, Stevie Wonder) and the mainstream rise of hip-hop and New Jack swing, which is kind of like being president between Reagan and Clinton. One reason for this is that the '80s spawned what writer Rickey Vincent dubbed "Naked Funk." It was still funk, but without the extra-musical calling card that helped it break out of the "urban" ghetto.
The great lie about music of the post-rock era is that it was something other than dance music at its core. Which is garbage, of course—the Rolling Stones aren't still touring because their fans are debating the meaning of "make some girl."
But the appearance that dance music is something other than "just dance music" has always been essential to success in a pop-music universe full of fans who haven't yet disowned critical oxymorons like "intelligent drum and bass." When you heard P-Funk or Prince, you felt were getting, at the very least, something more than just a call to shake your ass. On albums like Funkentelechy vs. the Placebo Syndrome George Clinton recontextualized extended dance jams as Star Wars-esque space epics with allegorical references to the corporate entertainment complex. Prince's mysterious (and sometimes creepy) take on sex and spirituality allowed you to think that your taste for armchair psychology was impelling you out of your seat. And more than one hip-hop scribe has ridden the "pain and roar of a disaffected generation" angle to mainstream status.
James, as good as he was, never really had that kind of cachet—his hedonistic funk-punkster played well, but it didn't obscure the fact that he was just an extremely accomplished, seriously prolific, outlandishly funky individual who had more of an effect on pop music than people give him credit for. That should be enough for people to try to scratch the surface of the Chappelle caricature, and "Super Freak" and all the other totems that we associate with his legacy. But in the real world, it isn't. And that's a bitch.

Remembering Rick James
by Adam Williams
10 August 2004

At his best and most creative, James was the consummate showman. Oozing the raw sexuality of James Brown, the confident cool of Jimi Hendrix and the intergalactic style of Bootsy Collins, James took his Super Freakishness to a new level of performance art. Appealing to an impressively diverse audience in concert, on radio and video, Rick James became the supreme ambassador of funk for the masses. As a result, he opened the door to mass market acceptance for Prince and later, Lenny Kravitz, and paved the way for the remarkable mainstream triumph of OutKast. Offstage, James lent his often underestimated studio expertise to acts ranging from the Temptations and Smokey Robinson to Eddie Murphy. Even James' work with the Mary Jane Girls merits mention as it closely resembles Frank Zappa's creation of the GTO's and predates Prince's efforts with Apollonia and Sheila E. Sign 'O' the Times (1987; dir. Prince) Published March 14, 2007 by M The camera then pans out her bedroom window and onto a stage where Prince begins singing "If I Was Your Girlfriend" . . . in a white fur coat. You gotta love the guy--extolling the virtues of monogamy while dressed as a pimp. No wonder Rick James hated him. That’s not the only reason, of course. As quiet as it’s kept in the wake of the closely timed double whammy of his death and his elevation as nationally beloved caricature in the hands of Dave Chappelle, Rick James was a very limited talent. Prince, especially by Sign ‘O’ the Times, seemed nearly limitless as a musician. The album demonstrated it flatly, and while the movie can be thought of as an extension of the album, and thus a like demonstration, it can also be seen as an attempt to do something grander. Sign ‘O’ the Times the album came together by concentrated work, yes, but also by happenstance, its initial three-album length shaved down unwittingly at first, the handful of binding concepts eventually jettisoned in favor of 16 songs that were both more various and more coherent. Sign ‘O’ the Times the movie, though, is anything but a scrapbook. Once Prince figured out the shape of his masterpiece, he could play with it, and he could also use it as a springboard to try to go beyond what he’d accomplished.

Prince and Rick James

Posted by jsmooth995
August 6, 2004 03:21 PM

A member of our extended DJ family, who shall remain nameless, was recruited recently to DJ for a few of Prince's afterparties on his current concert tour.
At one of the parties someone came over from the VIP area to ask if our friend had any Rick James.. he promptly fished out "Give It to Me Baby," but before Rick made could make it through the first verse one of Prince's assistants rushed over with a look of concern. "Prince doesn't like this song," she instructed him, "please mix out of it immediately."
When our friend pointed out the guest who had requested it she rolled her eyes and explained "Oh, that's Morris Day, don't pay him any mind." Evidently Morris knew what would happen, and was playing a little joke.

Part II: with Kevin Black
Interscope’s best kept secret

Chronicmagazine.com: “Take off your executive hat. As a lover of hip-hop, what do you think about beef in the game?”

Kevin: “Back in the old days, there was a lot of beef too. I remember when Prince and Rick James couldn’t even be in the same venue. Michael Jackson and Prince had beef. LL and Kool Moe Dee had beef. Artists beef. Beef has been going on for a long time. Do I promote [beef]? No. If the record’s hot, I’ll promote it. Period. I’m getting it seen as much as I can.”

*O(+> Prince
*"Cold Blooded Unity" and "Pancake Serving Blouses" refer to David Chappelle's Chappelle Show Charlie Murphy's True Hollywood Stories


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