Cookies help us deliver our services. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn more

Slick Rick

Slick Rick

Richard Walters (born 14 January 1965), better known by his stage name Slick Rick, is a Grammy-nominated English-American rapper. He has also been known as Rick the Ruler and Ricky Dee. He began his career in late 1983, in the hip hop genre, where he recorded a series of acclaimed recordings such as "La Di Da Di" and "Children's Story". He is known for the use of narrative in his raps and has been called "hip hop's greatest storyteller."Slick Rick rose to stardom in an era known to fans as the Golden age of hip hop. His music has been frequently sampled and interpolated by other artists such as TLC, Black Star, The Notorious B.I.G., Snoop Dogg, and Color Me Badd, with many of these songs later becoming hit singles. ranked him #12 on their list of the Top 50 MCs of Our Time, while The Source ranked him #15 on their list of the Top 50 Lyricists of All Time.Early lifeWalters was born and raised in the south-west London district of Mitcham, to a British Jamaican family. He was blinded in the right eye by broken glass as an infant, and has worn an eyepatch ever since. He and his family moved to The Bronx in 1977. As a child, he met Dana Dane, with whom he later formed a hip hop duo known as the Kangol Crew.Initial fameWalters first gained success in the rap industry after joining Doug E. Fresh's Get Fresh Crew, using the stage name MC Ricky D. He was featured on the single "The Show" and its even more popular B-side, "La Di Da Di". La Di Da Di featured Walters' rapping over Doug E. Fresh's beatbox. Both tracks gained some mainstream attention. In 1988 Walters' solo debut The Great Adventures of Slick Rick came out on Def Jam Records. The album was very successful, reaching the #1 spot on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop chart. It also featured three charting singles: "Children's Story", "Hey Young World", and "Teenage Love".Incarceration and subsequent albumsIn 1990, Walters shot a bystander and his cousin whom he had hired as a bodyguard and who later admitted to having Walters shot outside a club. Walters was indicted on two counts of attempted murder and pled guilty to all charges, which included assault, use of a firearm, and criminal possession of a weapon. He spent five years in prison, two for the second degree attempted murder charges he received for the shooting, and three for his struggle with the Immigration and Naturalization Services over his residency in the US. He was bailed out by Russell Simmons, head of Def Jam Records.After being bailed out Walters recorded his second album, The Ruler's Back. The album got mixed reviews and wasn't as commercially successful as his debut. In the documentary film, The Show, Russell Simmons interviewed Walters while he was imprisoned on Rikers Island.Walters' third studio album Behind Bars was released in 1994, while he was still incarcerated. It was met with lukewarm sales and reviews. He was released from prison in 1996.Walters remained with the Def Jam label, and on May 25, 1999, released a fourth album entitled The Art of Storytelling. Generally considered the authentic follow up to his 1988 debut, The Art of Storytelling was an artistically successful comeback album that paired him with prolific MCs like Nas, OutKast, Raekwon, and Snoop Dogg among others.Subsequent legal issuesAfter performing on a Caribbean cruise ship in June 2001, Walters was arrested by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) as he re-entered the United States through Florida. He was promptly told that he was being deported under a law allowing deportation of foreigners convicted of felonies. Rick was continuously refused bail, but after 17 months in prison he was released on November 7, 2003. In October 2006, the Department of Homeland Security began a new attempt to deport Walters back to England, moving the case from the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit based in New York to the more conservative Eleventh Circuit. The court is based in Atlanta, Georgia but the trial was expected to proceed in Florida, where immigration agents originally arrested Walters.On May 23, 2008, New York Governor David Paterson granted Slick Rick a full and unconditional pardon on the attempted murder charges. The governor was pleased with his behavior since the mishap. Slick Rick has volunteered his time to mentor kids about violence.Later careerSlick Rick and the Soul Rebels Brass Band collaborated on June 21, 2012 in Washington, D.C. at the historic Howard Theatre which re-opened in April 2012.InfluenceSlick Rick's songs, especially his best-known songs "La Di Da Di" and "Children's Story", have been covered, referenced and sampled by numerous rappers. "La Di Da Di" was covered nearly word-for-word by Snoop Dogg on his 1993 album Doggystyle. It has also been sampled and interpolated on numerous other songs, including as the chorus of the Notorious B.I.G. hit "Hypnotize"."Children's Story" has been covered by rapper Everlast on his album Eat at Whitey's, by MC duo Black Star on their 1998 album Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Black Star, by Tricky on the album Nearly God and by Israeli rapper Sagol 59 on the album The Two Sides of Sagol 59. Rapper The Game recorded a similar song, "Compton Story". The song has also been referenced and interpolated by numerous artists, including Montell Jordan for his 1995 hit, "This Is How We Do It".The opening track on Jay-Z's Blueprint album is a cover of Slick Rick's "The Ruler's Back" and borrows heavily from the original lyrics.HonorsOn October 6, 2008, Rick was honoured on the VH1 Hip Hop Honors show.Rapping styleSlick Rick’s style is commended by music critics. Music journalist Peter Shapiro says, “'Children's Story' was important because of its narrative structure and Rick’s understanding of how crucial little sonic details—such as his use of a female voice and his yawning rap—were to hip hop style.”He is largely known for his story raps, such as ‘Children’s Story’ and ‘La Di Da Di'. Shapiro writes that he "largely introduced the art of narrative into hip hop… none of the spinners of picaresque rhymes who followed did it with the same grace or humor.” Allmusic states that he has the “reputation as hip hop's greatest storyteller.” In the book Check the Technique, Slick Rick says, “I was never the type to say freestyle raps, I usually tell a story, and to do that well I’ve always had to work things out beforehand.” Kool Moe Dee comments, “Slick Rick raised the lost art of hip hop storytelling to a level never seen again.” Devin the Dude notes that Slick Rick’s ‘Indian Girl’ is a good example of the type of humor that existed in hip hop’s golden era, and Peter Shapiro says that “he was funnier than Rudy Ray Moore or Redd Foxx.”Slick Rick uses very clear enunciation and raps with the “Queen’s English”. O.C. states: “The Great Adventures of Slick Rick is one of the greatest albums ever… the stuff he was just saying on there, it was so clear… the [clear\] syllable dude was Slick Rick for me”. He is also renowned for his unique “smooth, British-tinged flow” which contains distinct structures. In the book How to Rap, it is noted that on the song ‘I Own America’, he “puts a rest on almost every other 1 beat so that each set of two lines begins with a rest.” Kool Moe Dee stated that, “Rick accomplished being totally original at a time when most MCs were using very similar cadences.” He has what is described as “singsong cadences”; Andy Cat of Ugly Duckling mentions that Slick Rick uses a melodic delivery on the track ‘Hey Young World’. Slick Rick is also known to extensively use punch ins, especially in his story rhymes as different characters; Kool Moe Dee says Rick used “multi-voices to portray multiple characters.”


Hot tracks