The album Rick James was working on before his 2004 death will be released in early May, the artist's business manager, Ron Kramer, tells Billboard.com.

The album Rick James was working on before his 2004 death will be released in early May, the artist's business manager, Ron Kramer, tells Billboard.com. The as-yet-untitled set features tracks James wrote in the last two or three years of his life; it will be released by Stone City Records.

"This is one he really wanted out," Kramer says of the project, which was originally due in August 2005 via Sanctuary. "He really didn't want anybody else on these songs. He wanted to prove himself again. He wanted people to enjoy him; his music."

The album's first single, "Deeper Still," will hit urban radio in late January. A 30-second snippet of the cut, which features longtime collaborator Danny LeMelle, can be heard on James' Web site. Kramer adds that there is more unreleased James music in the vault, and that he is interested in working with Universal to compile deluxe editions of the artist's back catalog.

In addition, "Memoirs of a Superfreak," an autobiography James wrote while incarcerated at Folsom Prison from 1993-1995, will be released in April via Amber Communications.

James' estate has also given the go-ahead to screenwriter Sheldon Turner ("The Longest Yard") to begin work on a film about James' life. Contrary to early reports, Dave Chappelle, who famously parodied James on his "Chappelle's Show," will not be involved in the movie.

"When Rick was alive, Dave Chappelle wanted to make a movie," Kramer says. "But Rick didn't want a movie made of the caricature of himself from Dave's show. He wanted a real story."

James died Aug. 6, 2004, of a heart attack. The artist, who had battled drug addiction for years and suffered a 1998 stroke, had methamphetamine, cocaine, Vicodin and Xanax in his system at the time of death, according to the autopsy report.

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