A new documentary titled Bitchin’: The Sound and Fury of Rick James will examine the legacy and the legend of the iconic and oft-problematic punk-funk artist. The documentary, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival back in June, will premiere on Showtime on September 3rd.

A trailer for the film, released on Wednesday, opens with James asking, “This isn’t The Wizard of Oz. There are black people here. And we make music. I mean, don’t we exist?”

Through archival footage including interviews with the “Super Freak” himself, vintage concert recordings, and new interviews with his contemporaries like Bootsy Collins and those he inspired like Ice CubeBitchin’ tells the multi-faceted story of a music icon. From his meteoric rise to his polarizing fall, James redefined the intersection of funk and R&B music with punk and mainstream pop as he crisscrossed racial boundaries.

All the while, he was a man beset by his own struggles with drug dependency who faced accusations of sexual assault and later served three years in prison on charges related to two separate instances of kidnapping women while under the influence of cocaine.

A description of the film, directed by Sacha Jenkins (Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men), reads,

Bitchin’: The Sound and Fury of Rick James is an intimate yet propulsive look at Rick James, one of rock, funk and R&B’s most legendary and often under-appreciated figures. Featuring rare footage of James’ incredible live shows, never-before-seen home video, original interviews with legendary artists, collaborators and friends, and a treasure trove of recorded interviews with James (who died in 2004), the documentary presents a full picture of James’ dramatic rise and fall, focusing in on the “Punk-Funk” music he left behind.

Related: PBS ‘Icon: Music Through The Lens’ Revisits CBGBs with Photog David Godlis In New Clip [Watch]

In addition to the official trailer, Showtime shared another clip titled ‘Funk & War’. The snippet highlights the at-times combatant musical rivalry that existed between James’ pop-leaning funk and the far-out grooves of Parliament-Funkadelic. As Collins explained of the sometimes not-so-friendly rivalry, “All’s fair in funk and war.”

Watch the official trailer for Bitchin’ The Sound and Fury of Rick James as well as the ‘Funk & War’ clip below. Bitchin’ is available on Showtime beginning on September 3rd.

Bitchin’: The Sound and Fury of Rick James (2021) Official Trailer | SHOWTIME Documentary Film


‘Funk & War’ Official Clip | Bitchin’: The Sound and Fury of Rick James | SHOWTIME Documentary Film


[H/T Brooklyn Vegan]