Rick James: 10 Essential Tracks

The punk-funk king gets freaky on everything from a 1966 Neil Young collaboration to a groundbreaking 1988 rap duet

Teena Marie feat. Rick James, "I'm a Sucker for Your Love" (1979)

James actually passed on producing Diana Ross to work with his bold-voiced, then-unknown and unnamed Motown labelmate Tina Brockert, who settled on the moniker Teena Marie for her debut album Wild and Peaceful. This almost frantically flirty duet kicked off with an everybody-in-the-pool wink – "Well, all right, you freaks, give it up, for Lady T" – and just kept on funkin' up the P-Funk with wiggle-worm bass and relentlessly horny horns. "Come here, sucker, make love to me, right now!" shouted Marie at one point, amid giggles. Although the song became a Top 10 R&B hit, there were no photos of Marie in the album art or circulated in the press, so her skin color wasn't revealed until the duo appeared to perform "I'm a Sucker" on Soul Train, making her the show's first white guest.

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