‘Bitchin’: the Sound and Fury of Rick James is a new documentary produced by Mass Appeal and directed by Emmy-nominated filmmaker Sacha Jenkins. It is described “an intimate yet propulsive look at Rick James, one of rock, funk and R&B’s most legendary and often under-appreciated figures.”
James is also known for being a troubled and controversial figure. He went to prison in 1993 for sexually assaulting two women and the documentary does not shy away from his dark past.
“There are people who are going to despise him and feel like he’s a scoundrel and a horrible person for some of the things that he did and there’s no justification for the things that he did,” says Jenkins. “You can’t make a great film about Rick James without putting that stuff in there. It’s an honest, full portrait of who he was.”
Additionally, the film talks about the originality and impact of James’ music, especially to hip-hop. Rappers like Big Daddy Kane, Conway and Ice Cube are featured in the documentary. One of the songs that stand out is the mega-hit “Mary Jane.” In the above video, Jenkins talks about how radical it was at the time and led the way for fearless music about cannabis.