Street Songs: Deluxe Edition
by Rick James
Released: Mar 1981
Label: Universal Motown Records Group
On Rick James' best album, he returns to his Stone City roots. He reminisces about growing up in Buffalo, N.Y., on "Below the Funk (Pass the J)," castigates "Mr. Policeman" over a riff similar to Bob Marley's "Lively Up Yourself," and sings about the hardships of "Ghetto Life." When he teams with former lover and protégé Teena Marie on "Fire and Desire," they create one of the most passionate duets ever. Street Songs' melding of disco, P-funk and New Wave captures a transitional phase: James' street-conscious "Super Freak" seemed like the future. Instead, it was the end of an era.