The Truth About The Feud Between Rick James And Prince

You would think Prince and Rick James would have been great friends. They came upon the music scene at the same time, both releasing their first album in 1978, they both took the funk scene by storm, and they even toured together in 1980. But in reality, while the two were musical peers, Prince and James were anything but friends.

James had particular disdain for The High Priest of Pop and accused him of stealing his moves during their joint Fire It Up tour, which would later be known as the Battle of Funk, according to James' 2014 autobiography, Glow. Per MassLive, James also criticized Prince's music, saying, "I can't believe people are gullible enough to buy Prince's jive records," according to an interview with Rolling Stone, adding, "You can't take his music seriously." Prince wasn't especially fond of James either and refused to sign an autograph for James' mother, which almost prompted an actual fight between the two musicians.

The famous fight that almost happened

During an American Music Awards aftershow in 1982, James' mom was in attendance and asked Prince for his autograph when she saw him backstage since she was a huge fan. According to Glow, Prince ignored her and turned around and walked away, refusing to sign anything for her.

James got wind of Prince's petty refusal and went to fight him about it. However, no punches were ever thrown, since James recalls Prince's manager stepped in and made Prince apologize. "I was a little disappointed 'cause I really did wanna kick his ass," James wrote.

While that night almost brought the musicians' feud to a violent turn, Prince did James dirty in another way that night. During that same aftershow, Prince met James' ex, Denise Matthews, who would become Prince's girlfriend and protege under the stage name Vanity, as told in Prince FAQ: All That's Left to Know About the Purple Reign. According to the book's author, Arthur Lizie, James called Prince "a little b**ch" whenever possible after that night.