The Story Of Rick James' Super Freak

By Kellar Ellsworth
The one and only "Super Freak." soundcloud

In 1981, Rick James dropped the immortal “Super Freak,” a song that elicits a jovial reaction at a bowling alley or a Bat Mitzvah. The intervening years have managed to soften “Super Freak’s” debaucherous subject into a karaoke classic that even grandmothers enthusiastically belt out. The song easily ranks as Rick James’ biggest hit despite only reaching #16 on the Hot 100 and #3 on the R&B list.

MTV’s disinclination to play Black artists at the time undoubtedly tempered the all-time classic’s success. You might say his iconic hit represented a piece of James, who did two stints in jail and admitted to spending $8,000 a week on cocaine during the ‘80s. Here’s the story of “Super Freak.”