Deborah Cox/Next Pairing Evokes Rick James Track

Deborah Cox is preparing to release "We Can't Be Friends" as the third single from her highly successful sophomore effort, "One Wish."

The new cut is a duet featuring Next singer R.L., and Deborah recently told the MTV Radio Network of the time she had recording with R.L. -- and compared the song with a classic Rick James-Teena Marie number.

"That was a fun session, [R.L.'s] got so much energy," Cox explained. "This song is like the 'Fire And Desire' that Rick James did with Teena Marie, it's like the modern day 'Endless Love.' It's just one of those beautiful ballads that I think is gonna be around for a long, long time. It's an incredible song, and he sung it incredibly." [RealAudio]

Deborah says she first ran into R.L. at a New York club back in 1997, and the meeting sparked the idea for a duet. "We Can't Be Friends" also features production and background vocals from Shep Crawford

and Montell Jordan, the duo behind Cox's smash hit "Nobody's Supposed To Be Here."