General Jimmy

Writer / DJ / PR Manager / Fat Bastard

Happy Birthday Slick Rick

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Oh lordy, I love Slick Rick! If your Rakims, KRSs, Biggies and Nas’ are the heavy hitters that everyone digs, Slick Rick is always my number one. Easily the greatest voice hip-hop has ever witnessed, he also possesses quite probably the most vivid imagination we’ve ever seen across any musical platform. In terms of lyrics and concepts, he is the Picasso of this here music, portraying gloriously panoramic visions that have spanned everything from cautionary tales for the youth devoid of bad language, right up to an analysis of why men love bumming women. Versatility and then some.

On here I’ve waxed lyrical enough times about the magic and magnificence of him, whether it’s digging great re-edits of his tracks, marvelling at him chilling with fellow hip-hop royalty or the plain absurdity of his outfits, he gets more props and stunts than Bruce Willis from me. But Ricky is 48 today, so it’s time to throw him even more love.

The way I’m going to do this is offer three unheralded gems from Rick, all alongside the above links, to show what a fantastically brilliant rapper he was capable of being. Drum roll…

Rick’s second album wasn’t as vaunted as his first but this lead single was up there with everything on Misadventures. Bolstered by his signature pared back storytelling vibe, the energy of the beat means he’s a little bit faster in his delivery than usual, squeezing the words into the bars, but not on some Bone Thugs or Das EFX’s rapido vibes, literally just a quick rick. Add the brilliant ‘La Di Da Di’ refrain of ‘I’m feeling Sad and blue’ cut up for the chorus and we’re talking Uncle Ricky gold.

The ability to combine the absurd and the macabre is pretty much what makes Rick the genius he is, his gentle humour imbued delivery capable of offsetting the sheer lunacy of his lyrics. This record, detailing his plans to murder a obese wife who no longer does it for him, is an emphatic example of that manner in which he delivers. An absolute classic of lyrical monstrosity.

The briefest of cameos from Ricky on Montell Jordan’s 1996 jam takes the record from decent R&B number to quirky track, and obviously the presence of all that gold in the video just makes it ten times better. Rick was adored on the west coast as well, his languid patter perfect for that sound and its shows up across a pantheon of the artists over there. Obviously the Snoop love is well known, as is Montell sampling Children’s Story on the immense ‘This is how we do it‘, but he had major love form the likes of Warren G and Too $hort (see main pic) as well. They knew what I knew.

Happy Birthday to The Ruler…

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