Many music critics sneered when Rick James dubbed his sound "punk-funk" but there was an element of truth in it: like Prince and George Clinton, James showed no hesitating at adding edgy rock and new wave elements into his stew of funk and jazz stylings. His most successful cross-breeding experiment was "Super Freak," a new wave-tinged funk classic that became his biggest and most influential hit. Like many a Rick James song, the lyrics of "Super Freak" are obsessed with amorous concerns as they pay tribute to the kind of girl most mothers warn their sons about: "She’s a very kinky girl/The kind you don’t take home to mother/And she will never let your spirits down/Once you get her off the street." The music is surprisingly complex for what is essentially a soul-tinged pop song, combining a swinging verse melody with a lengthy bridge that builds from staccato call-and-response chants to gospel-inflected heights and a stomping, thoroughly exuberant chorus. Rick James’ recording of "Super Freak" keeps this complicated tune on course with a punchy arrangement that maintains maximum drive: the rhythm section punches out an infectious groove that bounces high and low while James engages in dueling vocals with a group of backup vocalists that includes the Temptations. This arrangement also throws in plenty of extra hooks that add color without distracting from the song’s flow, including Devo-styled synth drones and the dynamic saxophone solo from Daniel LeMelle that finishes the song on a high note. All these elements added up to a song that had funky grooves to spare but had an edgy sense of humor and electronic edge that made it as new wave as it was R&B. As a result, "Super Freak" became a major crossover hit that went top-five on the soul charts and top-20 on the pop charts. It has become a favorite oldie on both soul and rock radio and also gained a new lease on life when M.C. Hammer sampled a large portion of the song’s backing track for his monolithic hit "U Can’t Touch This."