Label: Stone City
Recorded just before his untimely death in 2004, Rick James' final songs are surprisingly mellow. With its washed-out strings and mawkish cliches ("Why do you want to stop before we even begin?"), "Stop It" reaches for Luther Vandross seduction but only pulls away with Keith Sweat's red-light schlock. "Stroke" and "Funk Wit Me," meanwhile, at least attempt to replicate James' funk glory years, but nothing on here even approximates such prior classics as "You and I" and "Mary Jane." Die-hard fans of the funk legend will undoubtedly want to check this out, but it isn't a great entry point.