Posthumous James album due in May

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NEW YORK - The album Rick James was working on before his fatal 2004 heart attack will be released in early May, his business manager said.

The as-yet-untitled Stone City Records release features tracks the funk singer wrote in the last two or three years of his life; it was originally due in August 2005 via Sanctuary.

"This is one he really wanted out," Ron Kramer told Billboard.com. "He really didn't want anybody else on these songs. He wanted to prove himself again. He wanted people to enjoy him; his music."

The album's first single, "Deeper Still," will hit urban radio in late January. A 30-second snippet of the cut can be heard on James' Web site (http://rickjames.com/).

In addition, "Memoirs of a Superfreak," an autobiography James wrote while incarcerated in Folsom Prison for assault from 1993-1995, will be released in April via Amber Communications.

James' estate has also given the go-ahead to screenwriter Sheldon Turner ("The Longest Yard") to begin work on a film about James' life. Contrary to early reports, Dave Chappelle, who famously parodied James on his "Chappelle's Show," will not be involved in the movie.

"When Rick was alive, Dave Chappelle wanted to make a movie," Kramer said. "But Rick didn't want a movie made of the caricature of himself from Dave's show. He wanted a real story."

James, who had battled drug addiction for years and suffered a 1998 stroke, had methamphetamine, cocaine, Vicodin and Xanax in his system at the time of death, according to the autopsy report.


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