Birth name – Richard Martin Lloyd Walters
Born – 14 January 1965 (age 48)
Origin – South Bronx, New York
Genres – Hip hop
Occupations – Rapper, record producer
Years active – 1982–present
Labels – Def Jam, Columbia, CBS Records, PolyGram, Universal
Associated acts – Doug E. Fresh, Nas, Snoop Dogg, Dana Dane
Richard Walters (born 14 January 1965), better known by his stage name Slick Rick, is a Grammy-nominated English rapper. He has also been known as Rick the Ruler. 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. About.com 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.
In the south-west London district of Mitcham Walters was born and raised, but then he later moved with his British Jamaican family to The Bronx in 1977 where he met Dana Dane with whom he later formed a hip hop duo known as the Kangol Crew. Walters received his characteristic eye patch after being blinded in the right eye by broken glass as an infant. Once he gained a degree of wealth, Walters earned a reputation for wearing a significant amount of gold and diamond jewelry.
He first gained success in the rap industry by 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 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”. These are now some of Walters’ best known songs.
In 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 interviews Walters while he was imprisoned on Rikers Island.
Walters’ third studio album Behind Bars was released while he was still incarcerated. It was met with lukewarm sales and reviews. After being 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. On October 6, 2008, Rick was honoured on the VH1 Hip Hop Honors show.
“La Di Da Di”, “Mona Lisa” and “Children’s Story” are among Walters most well known songs, with “La Di Da Di” being covered nearly word-for-word by Snoop Dogg on his 1993 album Doggystyle. Lines from “La Di Da Di” were borrowed by other multiple high profile artists. “Children’s Story” was sampled by Montell Jordan for his 1995 hit, “This Is How We Do It”, and rapper Everlast covered the song for his album Eat at Whitey’s. Rapper Eminem also borrowed from the song extensively in his diss track “Can-I-Bitch”. “Children’s Story” was covered with similar lyrics by the MC duo Black Star on their 1998 album Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Black Star, as well as by Tricky on the album Nearly God. It was also paid tribute to by A Tribe Called Quest on their song “8 Million Stories”. With a similar backing and very similar lyrics, rapper The Game also made a similar song which was named “Compton Story”. “Compton Story” was on the Mixtape BWS Radio 5 made in 2008. The chorus of Notorious B.I.G.’s song “Hypnotize” is also derived from “La Di Da Di”. The opening track on Jay-Z’s Blueprint albumn is also a cover of Slick Rick’s “The Rulers Back” and borrows heavily from the original lyrics. The Israeli Rapper Sagol 59 Made a Hebrew version of the song “Children’s Story” on his album “The Two Sides of Sagol 59”.
Slick 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.
Slick Rick has been referenced in numerous songs:
2pac references Slick Rick in his song “Old School”: “…When Slick Rick was spittin La-Di-Da-Di…”
The Big Sean song “Mula” when French Montana says: “ain’t nothing more important than the mula / diamond rings, hundred chains, slick rick the rula!”
The Nicki Minaj song “Super Bass”: “…slicker than the guy with the thing on his eye”
The D12 video from their mixtape, Return of the Dozen Volume 2, where Bizarre raps in the track “Outro”: “…patch on my eye, I’m the new Slick Rick”.
In the Keri Hilson song Knock You Down, Kanye West raps: “Hey young world, I’m the new Slick Rick/They say I move too quick…”
In the Amy Winehouse song “Me and Mr Jones”, Winehouse sings: “You made me miss the Slick Rick gig…”
In the R.A. the Rugged Man song “Supa”, R.A. raps: “…specifically wordplay slick tricky, I’m slicker than Slick Ricky”
In the Junior M.A.F.I.A. song “Player’s Anthem” B.I.G. raps: “This type of shit happens everyday!”
In the Kanye West song “Touch the Sky” Kanye West raps: “Back when Slick Rick got the shit to pop”
In the dan le sac Vs Scroobius Pip song “Development” Pip raps “KRS is my teacher, Slick Rick’s my ruler, Chuck D’s my preacher, I’m just a pre-schooler”.
In the MC Ren song “Same Ol’ Shit” sampled Slick Rick: “This type of shit happens everyday!”
In the Lauryn Hill song “Every Ghetto, Every City”, Hill sings “Back when Doug Fresh and Slick Rick were together”
In the Wyclef Jean song “Industry,” Wyclef raps: “Imagine Slick Rick not gettin deported”
In the CunninLynguists song “Old School” Deacon the Villain raps: “Before […] Slick Rick had his rings”
In the Insane Clown Posse song “Fearless” features the lyrics: “…I’ll sneak up to Slick Rick, and snatch off his eyepatch…”
In the Gorillaz, Andre 3000, & James Murphy song “DoYaThing” where Andre repeats: “…Is you really Slick Rick? No, you Dana Dane.”
In the Clipse song Grindin’, Pusha T Raps “With one eye closed I hit you/As if I was Slick Rick my aim is still at issue.”
In the Lil Wayne song “My Homies Still”, Lil Wayne raps “…and before I fuck this bitch, I gotta put that patch over my third eye, Slick Rick.”
In the The Roots song “Mellow My Man”, Black Thought raps “… La Di Da Di, who likes to party, like Slick Rick the Ruler I’m cooler than a ice brick.”
In the Kreayshawn song “The Ruler”, raps: “So much gold around my neck, they callin me Slick Rick the Ruler”
In the N.W.A song Gangsta Gangsta the line before Eazy-E’s verse, sampled ” As we go alittle something like this, Hit it!”
In the Nas song Loco-Motive on his album Life Is Good “”In My Truck, Play the Greatest Adventures of Slick Rick Buggin’ on how his imagination was so sick”
In the Jay-Z song “Jigga My Nigga”, Jay-Z raps “Jigga been dope since Slick Rick’s first chain.”
In the Chip song “Slick Rick”, “Oh shit, I think I’m Slick Rick” on his mixtape London Boy.
In the Pitbull and Christina Aguilera song “Feel This Moment,” Pitbull raps: “And made him slicker than Slick Rick the Ruler”
In the Macklemore song “Gold”, Macklemore raps “Slick Rick Gold, row fun, hella cold.”
In the M.I.A. (artist) song “Bring The Noize”, she raps “I’m a overweight, heavyweight, female Slick Rick”
Slick 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.”
Rumours suggested that Walters planned to release a new album, “The Adventure Continues,” in 2007. However, in a recent XXL Magazine interview, he denied the claim. Rick is supposedly “waiting for a market to open up for a mature audience.”
After 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, 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.
The Great Adventures of Slick Rick
Released: November 3, 1988
Billboard 200 chart position: #31
R&B/Hip-Hop chart position: #1
Last RIAA Certification: Platinum
Singles: “Teenage Love”, “Children’s Story” & “Hey Young World”
The Ruler’s Back
Released: July 2, 1991
Billboard 200 chart position: #29
R&B/Hip-Hop chart position: #18
Last RIAA Certification: None
Singles: ” A Woman in Love With Other Men”, “It’s A Boy” & “I Shouldn’t Have Done It”
Released: November 22, 1994
Billboard 200 chart position: #51
R&B/Hip-Hop chart position: #11
Last RIAA Certification: None
Singles: “Behind Bars” & “Sittin’ In My Car”
The Art of Storytelling
Released: May 25, 1999
Billboard 200 chart position: #8
R&B/Hip-Hop chart position: #1
Last RIAA Certification: Gold
Singles: “Street Talkin'”
U.S. Hot 100U.S. R&BU.S. Rap
1988″Teenage Love”-168The Great Adventures of Slick Rick
“Hey Young World”-4217
1991″I Shouldn’t Have Done It”-502The Ruler’s Back
“Mistakes of a Woman in Love with Other Men”—
“It’s a Boy”—
1994″Behind Bars”876312Behind Bars
1995″Sittin’ in My Car”-5611
1999″Street Talkin'”-6522The Art of Storytelling
U.S. Hot 100U.S. R&BU.S. RapUK
1996″I Like” (Montell Jordan featuring Slick Rick)2811-24The Nutty Professor soundtrack
1999″Da Art of Storytellin’ (Pt. 1)” (Outkast featuring Slick Rick)-67–Aquemini
2001″Girls, Girls, Girls (Part 2)” (Jay-Z featuring Slick Rick, Q-Tip, Michael Jackson & Biz Markie)*174911The Blueprint
2007″Hip Hop Police” (Chamillionaire featuring Slick Rick)10176-50Ultimate Victory
1986: “The Show (Oh My God! Remix)” (from the Doug E Fresh album Oh My God!)
1989: “If I’m Not Your Lover (12” remix from the Al B. Sure! album In Effect Mode)
1991: “Get Bizzy” (from the Greyson & Jaysun album Livin Like a Troopa)
1994: “Let’s All Get Down” (from the Nice & Smooth album Jewel of the Nile)
1994: “Move On…” & “The Show Theme” (from the compilation The Show (Original Soundtrack))
1996: I Like (From the Montell Jordan album More)
1996: “Got To Give It Up” (from the Aaliyah album One in a Million)
1997: “Just Another Case” (from the CRU album Da Dirty 30)
1998: “Fresh” (from the Jermaine Dupri album Life In 1472)
1998: “Faces Of Def” (bonus track on Jayo Felony’s Whatcha Gonna Do)
1998: “Unify” (from the Kid Capri album Soundtrack to the Streets)
1998: “Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy” (from WWF Aggression with Ice-T & Charles Wright)
1999: “If We Give You A Chance” (from the Warren G album I Want It All)
1999: “Your Moms House”
1999: “Night Riders” (from the Rahzel album Make The Music 2000)
1999: “So Fresh” (from the Will Smith album Willennium)
1999: “Don’t Come My Way” (from the Whiteboys soundtrack with Common)
1999: “Da Art of Storytellin’ (Pt. 1)” (from the OutKast album Aquemini)
1999: “I Sparkle” (from the Wild Wild West (soundtrack))
2000: “Why Not” (from the Erick Sermon album Def Squad Presents Erick Onasis)
2001: “What We Do (For Love)” (from the De La Soul album AOI: Bionix)
2001: “Pie” (from WWF The Music, Vol. 5 with The Rock)
2001: “Girls, Girls, Girls” (from the Jay-Z album The Blueprint)
2001: “Guidance Counselor”(from the Little-T And One Track Mike album Fome Is Dape)
2001: “Hey Young World, Part 2” (from the Macy Gray album The Id)
2002: “Women Lose Weight” (from the Morcheeba album Charango)
2004: “The Return (Remix)” (from the Jay-Z/R. Kelly album Unfinished Business)
2005: Performs live for Vox Entertainment @ Club Strata NYC
2005: “The Sun” (from the Ghostface Killah album Put It on the Line)
2005: “Irresistible Delicious” (from the Missy Elliott album The Cookbook)
2006: “Vows” (from the Juggaknots album Use Your Confusion)
2007: “Hip Hop Police” (from the Chamillionaire album Ultimate Victory)
2008: “VH1 Hip Hop Honors” (Honoree)
2009: “Y.O.U.” (from the Asher Roth album Asleep in the Bread Aisle – UK bonus track)
2009: “Auditorium” (from the Mos Def album The Ecstatic)
2009: “We Will Rob You” (from the Raekwon album Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II)
2009: “Family Jewels” (from the Dynas album The Apartment)
2010: “I Wanna Rock Freestyle”
2010: “Rock The Bells 2010” (from album The Great Adventures of Slick Rick)
2011: “Need Some Bad” (from the The Sitter soundtrack)
Backstage appearance on Jay-Z’s Fade to Black DVD.
Cameo in Ludacris’s music video for the single, “Number One Spot”.
Cameo, wearing his excessive jewelry in the New York Shit music video (2:56) by Busta Rhymes featuring Swizz Beatz.
Himself in the game Def Jam: Fight for NY.
Drug kingpin in the 1999 movie Whiteboyz, co-starring fellow rappers Doug E. Fresh, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Fat Joe, Dead Prez and Mic Geronimo.
Cameo in the film Brown Sugar, which starred Taye Diggs and Sanaa Lathan.
Himself in the seminal Run DMC film Tougher Than Leather, performing the song “Treat Her Like a Prostitute”.
Interviewee in 1995 documentary The Show
Opened Chris Rock’s Apollo Theatre comedy Show Bigger & Blacker
Featured in the 2011 film Rhyme and Punishment, which documented his time in prison.
Red Everything Movement