When it comes to the art of storytelling in hip-hop, Slick Rick is regarded as the godfather and master of the craft.

Born in London and blinded in the right eye by broken glass as a child, Slick Rick and his family would move to the Bronx, where he would attend high school and begin his foray into hip-hop after meeting classmate and future rap artist Dana Dane. But he'd get his big break after joining Doug E. Fresh's Get Fresh Crew in 1985.

Appearing alongside Doug E. Fresh on the 1985 singles "The Show" and "La Di Da Di," Slick Rick generated a buzz as one of the more dynamic new rappers in hip-hop and caught the attention of Russell Simmons, who inked the Brit to a record deal with Def Jam Records in 1986.

Two years later, Slick Rick's debut album, The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, was released, catapulting him to the forefront of rap and establishing him as one of the more popular artists in the game. Boasting the hit singles "Children's Story", "Hey Young World", and "Teenage Love," The Great Adventures of Slick Rick topped the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and ended 1988 as one of the more commercially successful and acclaimed albums of the year.

However, Slick Rick's career would hit a snag in 1991 after the rapper pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted murder, assault, use of a firearm, and criminal possession of a weapon after shooting his former bodyguard, resulting in a five year prison sentence.

Released from prison in 1997, Slick Rick  released the comeback album, The Art of Storytelling, in 1999, which was his last full-length release before he became embroiled in a lengthy legal battle with the Immigration and Naturalization Service regarding his citizenship. In spite of the ups and downs, Slick Rick's influence on hip-hop is invaluable and his status as one of the greatest and biggest rap stars of his era is without reproach.

In celebration of one of the greatest storytellers of all-time, The Boombox looks back at some of the fictional characters from Slick Rick's raps that have proved to be unforgettable.

  • 9

    Big Foot and The Toes

    "Teacher, Teacher"

    "I froze - it was Big Foot and the Toes/Yup, a bunch of small timers that be at all my shows/Surrounded the ruler with machetes too/They said um, "If you don't teach us how to rap, you're through"

    Slick Rick is approached by a local tough guy named Big Foot and his underlings, The Toes, who threaten to do him bodily harm unless he teaches them how to rap. Luckily, a police officer is in the vicinity and manages to diffuse the situation, but not before Slick Rick slaps one of the goons to save face and protect his rep as royalty.

  • 8


    "Kit (What's the Scoop)"

    "Lights, camera, action, you're on/Get 'em Ricky D, what's wrong?/The crown's gone/So help me out Kit cause this thief has to be caught/Radio the chief of police, get a report"

    Slick Rick phones in Kit for assistance after being the victim of a robbery and the two scour the city in search of the culprits. Regaining his crown after a wild chase, Rick the Ruler hooks up with producer Vance Wright to test out his mic skills - after getting Kit's approval, of course.

  • 7



    "I reached my destination and its raining/I'm in Colombia, the Bond steps off the plane and/I hear a hollar from a bro with ring around the collar/Its chief of police, grease Bond, tell me to follow"

    During a trip to Columbia, Slick Rick runs into an undercover agent named Bond, who is on a mission to rescue a girl that's been kidnapped. After discovering her whereabouts, Bond makes his way to Manhattan, saves the woman in question, and makes off with 20 million in cash.

  • 6


    "Mistakes of a Girl in Love With Other Men"

    "Call me the freaker, I bump it in ya speaker/Week on my birthday, met this girl named Tameka/Astonishing creature, made the rest look tired/Desired, that was the beauty I admired"

    Slick Rick falls hard for Tameka, the woman of his dreams, and the two quickly fall in love, eventually moving in with one another. But in the end, things go awry when The Ruler finds out that Tameka has been seeing other men behind his back, causing Rick to call it quits with his former wifey.

  • 5


    "The Moment I Feared"

    "I seen Danny Boy though he's with his girl named Sarah/In one of his cars, I think this one's a Riviera/She calls out to me, but, I really couldn't hear her/So I went just a little bit closer so I'd hear a little clearer/She said, 'I need Veronica Place that's right near Tilden'/I said, 'I know where that's at cause that's right next to my building'"

    The ultimate ladies man, Slick Rick catches the eyes of Sarah, a neighborhood hottie who shows up to his crib unannounced in an attempt to seduce him. Sarah's boyfriend, Danny Boy, gets wind of the rendezvous and shows up in a rage, causing Slick Rick to murder him in self defense. He makes off with Danny Boy's cocaine, leaving Sarah cold in the wind. However, Slick Rick would ultimately be apprehended and murdered in prison, ending the cautionary tale on a grim note.

  • 4

    Dave The Dope Fiend

    "Children's Story"

    "Knocked an old man down and swore he killed him/Then he made his move to an abandoned building/Ran up the stairs up to the top floor/Opened up the door there, guess who he saw?/Dave the dope fiend shootin' dope/Who don't know the meaning of water nor soap"

    In the midst of the nameless stick-up kid's quest for escape, he encounters a homeless dope fiend by the name of Dave at the top of a project building. While the occurrence appears random on the surface, it ultimately proves invaluable, as Dave provides the stick-up kid with a shotgun to help him continue to wage war with the police, another reminder all heroes don't wear capes - or take baths for that matter.

  • 3

    Running Rabbit

    "Indian Girl (An Adult Story)"

    "She started to laugh and then she started to say/'I'm sorry some times I do get carried away/I didn't mean to like ill treat you/My name is Running Rabbit and I'm glad to meet you'"

    Running Rabbit crosses paths with Davy Crockett, a slick-talker that approaches the Indian beauty with the sole intention of getting in her pants. After inviting her new admirer home for dinner and to meet her father, Running Rabbit falls victim to Davy Crockett's charms, but ultimately gets a little more than she bargained for.

  • 2

    Mona Lisa

    "Mona Lisa"

    "Well, it was one of those days -- not much to do/I was chillin downtown, with my old school crew/I went into a store -- to buy a slice of pizza/And bumped into a girl, her name was Mona -- what? Mona Lisa"

    During a run to the pizza shop, Slick Rick runs into a cutie by the name of Mona Lisa and proceeds to engage in conversation in an attempt to lay his mack down. However, Ricky is abruptly whisked away by his friend Trevor, who reminds him that the two have a party to attend and scolds him before the two exit the scene.

  • 1

    Stick-Up Kid

    "Children's Story"

    "Once upon a time not long ago/When people wore pajamas and lived life slow/When laws were stern and justice stood/And people were behavin' like they ought ta good/There lived a lil' boy who was miss lead/By another lil' boy and this is what he said:/'Me and you, tonight we're gonna make some cash/Robbin' old folks and makin' the dash'"

    In one of Slick Rick's most iconic displays of storytelling, a young stick-up kid with a penchant for armed robbery finds himself in a wild police chase through the projects that proves deadly. After getting in a shootout with cops and holding a woman hostage, the stick-up kid gets shot down by police, but goes out with a blaze of glory - and as one of the greatest fictional characters in the history of hip-hop.

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