Rick James Exposed How Marvin Gaye Vindictively ‘Set Him Up’…His Reaction Was Priceless

Posted On : July 9, 2021
Rick James

Rick James told a very interesting story in his memoir, Memoirs Of a Super Freak, about the time his then Motown label mate, Marvin Gaye set him up, causing him to catch flack from Berry Gordy. Here’s what he said happened:

Rick James – “One day at the studio I ran into Marvin Gaye. He asked me, “Rick, have you gotten your bonus?” I said, “What bonus?” He said, “Your bonus for going platinum.”

“I said I hadn’t. He said whenever somebody’s album goes platinum, Motown gives them a bonus. I said I hadn’t gotten mine yet. He said that if it wasn’t cash, then a Stutz (exotic car) or something.”

I began to get pissed. I hadn’t received anything and I certainly felt I deserved it.

The next day I got up early and went to Motown. I was mad. I went into Suzanne DePasse’s office and screamed.

7-21 marvin and rick
Marvin Gaye and Rick James at an award show

“Where’s my bonus?”

She calmed down and said, “Rick, this is something you should talk to Berry Gordy about.”

I tried calling Berry but he was nowhere to be found.

I didn’t know it then but Marvin loved to start shit up with the company and their artists. Motown did sometimes give bonuses for huge selling albums but it wasn’t mandatory and Marvin knew this.

He was just trying to rile me up and cause trouble. He knew I had a crazy nature and he knew that I would run straight to Motown and raise hell. Marvin was always like that, a crazy motherf***er, but I loved him to death.

I never got a bonus and Berry Gordy called and told me that I was out of line. At that time Marvin was divorcing Berry’s sister, Anna, and he was recording an album that she would get all the royalties from. So I guess he felt like causing even more trouble than usual. Berry did end up throwing some extra money my way but he made sure I knew that from then on I had to talk straight to him if I had a problem. – Rick James, Memoirs Of a Super Freak

It must have been like a spontaneous combustion sometimes, with two dominant personalities like Marvin’s and Rick’s together in the same room…anything was bound to happen. We love them both dearly though and we only wish we could have been flies on the wall for some of the stories they lived to tell.