He was given the unofficial title "The King of Punk-Funk".
His hit single "Mary Jane" reached #3 on the U.S. R&B Chart.
He suffered a stroke after completing a two-hour show in Denver's Mammoth Events Center.
He had two stage names: Ricky Matthews and Terry Johnson.
He joined the navy when he was fifteen.
His hit single "Cold Blooded" reached #1 on the U.S. R&B Chart.
He was the lead vocalist for the R&B/Soul group The Mynah Birds.
His trademark was his cornrow braids.
He has three children: Tazman, Ty and Rick James, Jr.
He left Motown Records in 1986 after creative differences.
Teena Marie was his protege.
His song "Ghetto Life" appears in popular video game "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City" on the in-game radio station "Fever 105".
He produced Eddie Murphy's one-hit wonder "Party All the Time".
He is the nephew of Melvin Franklin, a member of the legendary R&B group The Temptations.
He is a diabetic.
Rick: During the Throwin' Down tour I went to see Dizzy Gillespie at the Blue Note in New York. Man, I loved Dizzy. He was a guru, a beautiful man filled with the spirit of compassion, the father I never had. Diz was never judgmental. He used to say I was too serious and warn me not to look at life so black and white. He saw I was wild. "Rick," he said, "you remind me of Bird. Boy, you better slow down." But even Dizzy, for all his wisdom, couldn't change my reckless ways.
Rick (talking about his hit single "Super Freak"): "Super Freak" came about after "Street Songs" was complete. I was listening to the tracks, just riffing on my bass, when I hit on this punky-funky sounding line. Reminded me of how punkers look funny when they try to dance. I heard it as a goof and never dreamed it'd take off. The lyrics were silly. The line about "she's the kind of girl you don't take home to mother" was jive. I could take any girl home to mother. Anyway, the song came together, I had the Temps singing behind me, and next thing I know it's a smash.
Rick: I have to establish myself again, but I have to be careful. I don't want to lose the fans I had, and I want to attract new fans, but I don't want to lose my musical integrity either. I don't want to make the same mistakes I made before, but I don't want to blow people away with something foreign or alien to what they expect. I have to find a happy medium. The album is out, yeah, but I'm still in search of that happy medium.
Rick: I'm into rock. I'm trying to change the root of funk, trying to make it more progressive, more melodic, and more lyrically structured. More honest, as opposed to putting riffs together, saying, "Get up and get down. I feel alright. Oomph! Good God! Get up and boogie" and all that redundant bull.
Rick: It was my mother who raised us. She was a small elegant woman of great dignity and strength. She always had two jobs. Sometimes she worked as a maid, but her main income came from running numbers for the Italian mob. She raised us as strict Catholics.
Rick (talking about Charlie Murphy): But you know, he was hanging out with the big dogs, you know, Charlie didn't know he was doing crazy things, and I had to straighten him out. Sometimes I had to upside his head.
Rick: I had always been a free spirit, and always gotten what I wanted.