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Rick James Once Claimed He Made Prince Cry - Here’s What Happened

Olawale Ogunjimi
Sep 15, 2021
12:00 A.M.
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Rick James was a singer and performer who rose to prominence towards the end of the 1970s. During his career, he was in rivalry with the eccentric singer Prince. The former claimed that he had an encounter that made Prince emotional. Here is why.


Rick James came from a large family, but his passion for music and creativity caused him to strive for fame, which he got after fleeing from the U.S Navy in 1964.

Like with many remarkable achievers, it was never easy. First, he formed a band called "The Mynah Birds," but their music was never released. He later worked with other groups, where he brushed up his skills.

A picture of popular singers Prince and Rick James | Photo: Getty Images


By 1968, James recorded his first work as a solo artist, and in no time, his tunes reached the Billboard, catapulting him to the limelight. His albums and songs, including "Super Freak," became popular and earned nomination spots at the Grammy Awards.

The performer struggled with drugs and spent some time in jail after a conviction of sexual assault. In 1997, he battled with a mild stroke but recovered. A few years later, he succumbed to pulmonary and cardiac failure and passed away in his home.

Rick James performs onstage at the Holiday Star Theater on September 9, 1983. | Photo: Getty Images


During his prime, James was at loggerheads with Prince, another eccentric and intriguing star famous for his mishmash of religious and sexual themes. The men even toured together.

James accused the younger artist of stealing his moves and was not impressed by the "Purple Rain" singer, referring to him as mentally disturbed.

Rick James performing at the Jamaican World Music Festival on November 27, 1982 | Photo: Getty Images



James was public about his hatred for Prince, and he detailed every moment they shared in the same space. During an interview, he talked about how it felt hilarious to make the younger artist cry.

Prince was a guest at his 34th birthday when James thought it felt cool to grab his hair and force some cognac down his throat. According to the "Super Freak" singer, it made the guest cough and cry.

Rick James (born James Johnson Jr, 1948 - 2004) performs onstage on September 9, 1983. | Photo: Getty Images



When James' album "Street Songs" won an award at America's Music Awards in 1982, he was happy but more concerned about addressing an issue with his rival.

James accused Prince of snubbing his mom and not giving her an autograph. The confrontation nearly led to fisticuffs after Prince apologized, leaving the older singer disappointed because he intended to humiliate his rival again.



Although James openly poured out his displeasure with Prince, he was not at loggerheads with every talent in the entertainment industry. In fact, he worked with a few known faces.

The performer shared a Christmas holiday with singer, Diana Ross. He also had a friendly bond with Ray Charles, whom he asked for advice to stay clean, produced a hit track "Party All the Time" for Eddie Murphy, and dated Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia.


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