"Chappelle Show's" Rick James Sketch Turns 10

Categories: comedy

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Dave Chappelle IS Rick James
On Wednesday, February 11th, 2004, an atomic bomb of pop culture went off, unexpectedly becoming one of the defining moments of the decade. Mere days after Justin Timberlake exposed Janet Jackson's nipple at halftime of the Super Bowl and the launch of Facebook came a half-hour of programming that lead to hours-upon-hours of popular quotation. It was on that night that Comedy Central's "Chappelle's Show" first aired the infamous "Charlie Murphy's True Hollywood Stories" episode that reintroduced Rick James to a generation. This week, that episode turns 10, and it's only fitting that we take a look back at the decade of "I'm Rick James, Bitch!" that followed.


The story begins, rightfully so, with the actual legend of Rick James. Born in Buffalo, New York, James would sing on the corner with his friends and, after a well-received performance in front of his school, decided to pursue music full time. After landing in Canada following going AWOL from the Navy, he formed his first band The Mynah Birds, whose line-up at one point also featured Neil Young.


James returned to the US and served time for deserting the Navy. Following that, he relocated to Detroit, put together his Stone City Band and began his career as a solo artist. On Motown's Gordy imprint, James released the number one single "You and I," and the cult smash "Mary Jane," one of the most treasured tribute to marijuana in the American canon.



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