The 1981 LP, ‘Street Songs‘, from Funk/R&B/Soul vocalist, producer and composer Rick James is a wild trip with progressive bass lines, saxophone solos, melancholic melodies and living within a community that had ties to crime and sexual identity. ALSO, THE ALBUM COVER IS JUST TOO FUCKING SWAGGY. NO ONE CAN BEAT RICK JAMES WEARING THOSE LEATHER RED BOOTS.
“Give It To Me Baby” has a dancehall feel to it with the free-flow of James’ singing, a keyboard-like-synth of the sort that reminds me of George Clinton and guitar chords that you can’t help but sway your body to. As well as this, with only a few instruments present on the track and James’ vocals, it is simplistic, yet gets the goal done.
The third track on the LP, the seductive “Make Love To Me” has an incredible string arrangement and introductory of a trumpet and bass line. James boasts to the woman in the song of how beautiful and magnificent she is for her physical and mental personality that…the track speaks for itself, honestly.
A definite highlight would have to be relevant “Mr. Policeman” which he details the racial intimidation POC have to deal with and how they always seem on edge in a Black community. It only proves that these racial issues aren’t outdated or not happening still in America. And to quote James – “It’s a shame, it’s a disgrace, why every time you show your face, somebody dies!”
Lastly, the duo with Teena Marie, “Fire & Desire” is one of the most heartfelt songs I’ve ever listened to. A simple backing of the drums, glossy keys, and an impeccable vocal performance from Rick. However, Marie does steal the track with her boisterous vocals and how she just sings so calmly over the instrumentals with such tense emotions.
In overall, it’s a wicked album filled with Funk, Soul and energy. If you haven’t heard this album yet, you’re missing out on great music.