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

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Rick James, feat. Roxanne Shanté, "Loosey's Rap" (1988)

Though objectively laughable and James' official tap-out as a hitmaker, this was one of the first proper rap and R&B collaborations (if not the first) and somehow hit Number One on the R&B charts, which was certainly a nice look for one of the dopest female MCs ever. Sadly, her rhyme is hot garbage – "They call me Loosey, 'cause I'm so loose," really? – and Shanté gets implicated by James' increasingly disturbing world of objectification. The video, in which she did not appear, was a seamier version of Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love" featuring an array of scantily-clad models wandering around a bathroom/dressing room/shower/soundstage in lingerie, leather and latex, along with a tiger on a chain. The remix by Juice Crew producer Marley Marl shapeshifts the track's clunky thud into a funky, stuttering SP-1200 marvel, with Big Daddy Kane elevating the proceedings by simply dropping a couple of lukewarm 16s. Here, Shanté finally cuts loose, even playfully taunting James. Clearly, it was time for the King of Punk Funk to surrender his throne.

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