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, "You and I" (1978)

Finally finding redemption at Berry Gordy's personal Motown imprint, Gordy Records, James unleashed his brash "punk-funk" movement with this gloriously strutting single, which boasted a colossal synth-bass groove, James' boa-tossing vocal panache and double-entendres directed at his ex-wife. Off the platinum album Come Get It! and featuring the ace musicians who would make up his Stone City Band, "You and I" was a Number One R&B hit, reaching Number 13 on the pop charts and later being sampled on albums by Monie Love (1990's Down to Earth) and Candyman (1990's Ain't No Shame in My Game).

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