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Rick James' fall from grace

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Next week, Motown will host a party for Rick James’ hits album, Bustin’ Out. The guest of honor, however, will only be able to attend by phone. James, 46, helped assemble the album from inside the California Rehabilitation Center in Norco, where he’s serving at least 8 to 9 months for the assault and imprisonment of two L.A. women in ’91 and ’92. (Their testimony also sent James’ fiancee, Tanya Hijazi, 24, to jail.) After his self-described ”fall from grace,” the singer says, his party days are over. ”There’s more drugs in here than out in the streets,” James says calmly, ”but I haven’t been tempted.”

James may be eligible for release this fall, at which time he hopes to marry Hijazi, spend time with their 2-year-old son, and lecture kids about drugs. ”I’m not a religious freak,” he says, ”but the Lord gave me the strength to stay away from the devil’s drugs.” In addition to plans for a tour in 1995, James wants to record musicians with whom he has performed behind bars. ”I’ve made a lot of friendships in here,” he says. ”I just met Joe Louis’ son today.”

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