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Rick James Documentary Trailer Shows the Highs and Lows of the Super Freak

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Showtime has revealed the trailer for their upcoming documentary film showcasing the life and career of musician James Ambrose Johnson Jr., or more commonly known as Rick James. Bitchin’: The Sound and Fury of Rick James showcases the eccentricities of James, who frequently spoke his mind and made his public image known to all.

This first trailer makes it appear that director Sacha Jenkins (Word Is Bond, Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men) captures James’ attitude in his upcoming film, which will premiere on Showtime this September. The film was written by Steve Rivo and Jason Pollard, as well as Jenkins.

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Image via Showtime

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James, a Buffalo, New York native, signed with A&M Records in 1973, releasing his first single, My Mama, in 1974. James then went on to develop his own style of “punk funk,” which developed major hits such as “Give It To Me Baby” and “Super Freak.” The multi-hyphenate also wrote songs and produced material for The Temptations, Eddie Murphy, and Smokey Robinson. In his lifetime, James only received one Grammy for his work in composing the Super Freak score.

As can sometimes become the case with super-stardom, tragedy came knocking, and James was convicted of abuse against women and served time in prison in the late 90s. He died in 2004 at the age of 56 from heart failure. Prior to his death, he did experience somewhat of a resurgence thanks to Dave Chappelle, after participating in the sketch “Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories” on Comedy Central’s Chappelle’s Show. Based on the trailer, it appears that Jenkins captures this success and tragedy in equal measure, with James himself even uttering the catchphrase made famous by the sketch comedy series.

Bitchin’: The Sound and Fury of Rick James will premiere on Showtime on Friday, September 3, at 87c. Check out the trailer and synopsis for Bitchin’: The Sound and Fury of Rick James below:

“Bitchin’ is an intimate yet propulsive look at Rick James, one of rock, funk and R&B’s most legendary and often underappreciated figures. Featuring rare footage of James’ incredible live shows, never-before-seen home video, original interviews with legendary artists, collaborators and friends, and a treasure trove of recorded interviews with James (who died in 2004), the documentary presents a full picture of James’ dramatic rise and fall, focusing in on the “Punk-Funk” music he left behind.

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