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Rick James - Super Freak (1981)

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  • 80's Score80's Score 80's score: 1.52
  • Find this song on: Music Stack

“Super Freak” is a 1981 single produced and performed by American singer Rick James. The song, co-written by ...

“Super Freak” is a 1981 single produced and performed by American singer Rick James. The song, co-written by James and Alonzo Miller, was first released on James’ album Street Songs and became one of James’ signature songs. “Freak” is a slang term for the sexually adventurous, as described in the song’s lyrics, “She’s a very kinky girl / The kind you don’t take home to mother”. Rolling Stone magazine ranked the song number 477 in its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The song was nominated for the Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance at the 1982 Grammys. MC Hammer’s 1990 hit “U Can’t Touch This” samples “Super Freak”.

Recording

“Super Freak” was recorded with other tracks for the Street Songs album between December 1980 – January 1981 at the Record Plant, in Sausalito, California and Motown / Hitsville U.S.A. Recording Studios, Hollywood, CA. It features background vocals from James’ Motown labelmates The Temptations—in which the [Bass player] was Greg “Big Money” Brown, Melvin Franklin—and Canadian singer Taborah Johnson. The tenor saxophone solo is by Stone City Band member Daniel LeMelle. James’ improvised lyrics were later toned down by Los Angeles DJ Alonzo Miller, who received co-writing credit. James apparently was not particularly excited about the song, but reputedly wanted to have something on the album that “white folks could dance to.”

Sampling

The predominant riff of the song was most popularly sampled in 1990 by MC Hammer in “U Can’t Touch This”.

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