Rick James Mary Jane will be forever used in the same sentence not only because this was the title of a well-known song of his, along with Super Freak, but also because it links the artist with drug abuse problems. Every time a Grand Theft Auto game appears, his music plays on its radio space and GTA V is no exception, thus reviving Rick James Mary Jane once again: the song, the girl band, the addiction.
Rick James’ Mary Jane song will live forever in his fans’ hearts, but his character and drug abuse affected his image so much that all the young people who know about him correlate his image with Dave Chappelle’s stand-up comedy and world-famous quote “Cocaine is a hell of a drug”. His drug addiction aggravated when James was spending over $10,000 per week on drugs, a situation which continued for five years in a row. Mary Jane and other drugs pushed him to assault two women: one during a drug spree and the other one after a business meeting. The second assaulted woman, Music Executive Mary Sauger told the press how James and his fiancee, Tanya Hijazi beat her up for almost a day. After the incident, James was sent to jail and spent two years in Folsom Prison.
During his career, Rick James’ Mary Jane became the cornerstone of his reputation and focused his entire universe around this name. While some voices argued that Mary Jane is an ode to marijuana, James even created a girl band named Mary Jane Girls. His name remains linked to this musical group until today; last year, his estate administrator banned two former Mary Jane Girls from reuniting, saying that the band’s name was still owned by James.
Rick James’ music is revived with every GTA game released, because his songs are part of at least three game’s radio space: San Andreas, Vice City and GTA V. Since the franchise’s creator, Rockstar Games wishes to include the best music from all genres in the game, James was a natural choice, especially Give It To Me Baby which was used for the fifth GTA.
Rick James’ Mary Jane was not only his love, but also his sentence to death; although a coroner’s report clearly stated that his death was accidental, “The King of Punk-Funk” had nine drugs in his system. His legal problems were mocked in the TV series “The Simpsons” and his personality was portrayed in Mike Tyson’s memoir, “Undisputed Truth.” According to the professional boxer, James had no respect for people.
If GTA V PC follows the pattern of the previous games and contains one of Rick James’ songs on its radio space, his connection to Mary Jane will once again be revived and all the publicity that revolves around his legal issues and drug abuse will go down as James’ legacy. Rick James’ Mary Jane song helped him reach the pinnacle of success, but at the same time it was also one of the drugs that contributed to his decline and demise.
By Gabriela Motroc