Slick Rick Speaks About Being The 1st MC To Bring Humor To Rap (Video)
Slick Rick is currently celebrating the 30th-anniversary of his debut album, The Great Adventures Of Slick Rick. Last year, the Bronx, New York representative worked with his former label, Def Jam Records, on a special deluxe edition reissue of that platinum 1988 release which contains hits such as “Children’s Story,” “Mona Lisa,” and “Hey Young World,” along with two previously unreleased songs. Notably, the LP produced by Rick, Jam Master Jay, as well as The Bomb Squad’s Hank Shocklee and Eric “Vietnam” Sadler includes some humorous elements which added to Rick Walters’ many charms.
Recently appearing on The Power 106 morning show, MC Ricky D opened up about bringing those comedic elements of Rap to the widespread masses. He tells Daily Dose hosts Noah Ayala and Teddy Mora about the tactic that him stand out in Hip-Hop. “Back when we came out, there was a certain variety. Each man had their own niche. You had your Rap battles, you had your lover—like LL Cool J’s style, and you had your storytelling and your humor,” Rick says at the top of the conversation. “I just ran with the humor stuff, like Eddie Murphy started rapping or something. So I went that route, and it caught on. People liked it; people love it. It’s like a Redd Foxx, Richard Pryor-type [style] that turned into Hip-Hop. Humor and Rap mixed together created its own lane. I was able to create a lane, and live comfortably—a lil’ somethin’, somethin’.”
Even before his ’88 album, Rick splashed listeners with this humor. 1985’s “La Di Da Di” by Doug E. Fresh & The Get Fresh Crew was a B-side to hit, “The Show.” In the song, Rick whimsically tells a story of a day in the life of the MC. Referencing the Brothers Grimm’s Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs and A Taste Of Honey’s cover of an early 1960s Japanese Pop song, the story contains Rick crudely dismissing the advances from a young woman’s amorous mother.
This brand of humor elevated Rick from a guest on a Profile Records single to becoming a Rap star in less than three years. Even during a lengthy 1990s incarceration, Rick’s persona stayed influential in Rap. From Snoop Dogg to Black Star, legions of MCs have covered his songs and emulated his aesthetic. Like a great stand-up, Rick’s lyrics could be self-deprecating. On “The Moment I Feared” features the artist getting robbed, getting caught having an affair. In other places he could also be crass and cutting, often using profanity and raunchiness for effect. In addition to Snoop, artists like Ghostface Killah and Biggie Smalls ran with such an approach.
Teddy Mora points out that a contemporary artist such as Lil Dicky has utilized the style that Rick introduced. Moments later, at 4:45, Noah Ayala asks Rick about his extreme confidence on records and inquires where it stems from. “I wasn’t really that confident as a child, so I just expressed it in rap and stuff like that. ‘Cause it’s funny, it’s humorous. It’s always good to have confidence, ’cause if you lose your confidence, you may lose some swagger, lose some grit, you may lose your audience. See, some people like comedians or people that are disrespectful because it just stimulates them and makes them laugh. It brings stimulation into your born existence. Sometimes it’s good to be confident and funny. A lot of comedians are like that. They diss people, and it makes people laugh. [It is] no disrespect. Sometimes they can get very, very in-your-ass, but be funny. So if it works, it works. If it don’t, then ‘next.'”
Elsewhere in the interview, Rick says that he has a Country-inspired song releasing soon. He admits that growing up, he was a fan of the 1970s Country records by Glen Campbell and Dolly Parton. The upcoming record will be another story, of Rick entering a Dosey-Doe at a Western bar. In the tale, he uses his rapping and charisma to help bring some energy and liquor sales to the otherwise stagnant venue.
#BonusBeat: Slick Rick increased his participation on a special, expanded remix of French Montana and Drake’s “No Stylist.” This mix includes an animated lyric video from Rick The Ruler and the Epic Records star: