Slick Rick is a man who is simply larger than life. His voice, his rhymes, and even his fashion sense; iconic symbolism of his brand of hip hop, which nobody could ever mistake for anyone else. Rick moved from England in 1976, with his Jamaican mom and sister, to the Bronx, where hip hop was being cultivated and ushered into a whole new level by other fellow legends of the golden era.
Slick Rick embraced his English accent and wove lyrics into tales that would make your head spin. Play that record back one more time! Rick’s storytelling was uniquely him, especially since his life didn’t revolve around the now infamous block parties and clubs where DJ’s controlled the movements of hundreds of people. While he did partake in those events sometimes, his real passion was found in the arts and fashion. Slick Rick was a ladies man with a gentleman’s swag.
That’s part of what made the golden era of hip hop so vibrant, the various social gatherings that artists within everyone could express themselves. Whether it was through song, dance, graffiti, DJ’ing, or fashion, everyone had their own little outlet.
While Slick Rick made hugely-successful hits like “Children’s Story” and “The Show”, his life of lavish proportions were merely aspirations and embellishments, as he lives a very humble life at the age of 50 with his wife. Rick went through some rough patches and even faced being deported at one point, but his charm and almost jovial nature is has not disappeared with age.
His legacy is cemented at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. There you will find a bunch of his clothes and accessories which are undeniably his mark on hip hop. For Rick, this honor is bitter-sweet, as it serves as a reminder of how hip hop has lost its way in the past few decades. He does reminisce about how the artists who were most unique and barked the loudest were the ones at the front of the pack. Nowadays it’s about selling the safest product to a particular target audience.
Slick Rick is known for his storytelling, and I think it’s safe to say that his story is far from over in the world of music and art. He often mentors aspiring young rappers, producers, and lovers of all that is hip hop. Unlike other artists who are known to burn out quickly from their success, Rick the Ruler doesn’t know the meaning of slowing down. He likes ta party.