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Non-Prog DVD/Video Reviews

Rick James

I’m Rick James: The Definitive DVD

Review by Gary Hill

Before MC Hammer couldn’t touch this, there was Rick James. The master of funk may not be with us anymore, but there are still some cool items left behind and yet to be released. This is one of them. Or perhaps I should say that this is quite a few of them. This collection of material is sort of a collage of video from the late great Mr. James and as such it’s a bit of a mixed bag. Since they don’t make this stuff anymore (as in music or video from Rick James) it is elevated somewhat beyond that mixed label out of the sheer rarity of the product.

So, let’s have a look at the individual items that make up this item. Basically what we have are a series of television performances, some old school music videos and a couple interviews. The reason this is a mixed bag is that not all this material is a strong as the rest. The truth is, though, that’s more about the TV shows than it is about James. The man knew how to rock and it shows in every performance. He had a sense of humor and a sense of the absurd – often times the same thing. But the one thing that is always present in this set is his sense of great music. This might not be the most cohesive introduction – or the most indepth that you could find, but I would really recommend it to anyone who wants to experience the music of Rick James in a new way. That was always the strength of the man. For the hardcore fans much of this material is hard to find and probably hasn’t seen the light of day in years. So, it’s also highly recommended to them. All in all it’s a bit unusual, but quite strong DVD collection.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 3 at
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