African American musician James Ambrose Johnson, better known as Rick James, was a popular performer in the late 1970’s. James started singing on the street corners of his home town Buffalo at a young age. His breakthrough song, You and I on the album Come Get It! was the first of a long string of hits. James battled drugs in the late 1990s and served time for sexual assault.
By the early 1990s, James’s cocaine use was spinning out of control. After being convicted of assaulting two women, he spent two years in prison and paid $2 million in a civil suit. After his release in 1995, he attempted a comeback but suffered a mild stroke in 1997 that ended his career. Rick James died after suffering pulmonary and cardiac failure at his home in Burbank, California, on Aug. 6, 2004.