Slick Rick tells a Childen’s Story

It’s important to know the source material. I guarantee you have heard Slick Rick in one form or another. Whether it’s Snoop Dogg or Notorious B.I.G. covering La Di Da Di or Tricky covering Children’s Story or any number of  songs that give a shout out to Slick Rick, you have heard Rick the Ruler.

This video showcases Slick Rick’s gifts: an artful storyteller dripping with confidence and debonair style. With his clear flow and playful rhymes, he makes it looks easy. It’s not. Slick Rick is a story-telling super star, known for his dexterity, cleverness, wit, articulation and fluidity.

After the jump, I’m going to share three of my favorite tributes to Children’s Story. And I’m going to tell you a story about Slick Rick, an early hip hop style innovator.

Fresh dressed, like a million bucks

I would consider Slick Rick one of the original architects of hip hop, whose early work with Doug E. Fresh marked the beginning of the golden age of hip hop. London-born to a Jamaican family, he brought his own style to hip hop as it was just finding it’s form and voice in the mid-1980’s.

From his website:

After moving from England to the states at age 12, Rick gravitated toward the makeshift music of the streets. He struck up a friendship with fellow visionary Doug E. Fresh, and in the summer of 1985, the duo released their historic single: The Show and La Di Da Di. Fresh’s beatbox and Rick’s smooth lyrical delivery turned rap music on its head.

Clearly, there are moments of deliberate ambiguity in the Slick Rick Experience. Still, plenty of facts uphold the mythos. The eye patch, for instance, is legit, courtesy of a glass shard that flew into Rick’s eye when he was an infant. And the British accent is genuine — its casual refinement belies every dumb gangsta stereotype. Throw in some gleaming grills, some bejeweled outerwear and – voila – you have the genius of Slick Rick. He’s no reticent wallflower – he’s larger than life.

 Three favorite tributes to Children’s Story

Because you never come whack on an old school track

Gossip Folks is a killer jam by Missy Elliot, which features Ludacris’s twist on Slick Rick’s Children’s Story. This video is one of my favorites videos of all time- from Missy dancing, to the three young  back-up vocalists in boa’s, to the funky double dutch bus  at the end. I love when Ludacris throws off the line about leaving the booth smelling like Burberry cologne, which is a nod to La Di Da Di and Slick Rick’s reference to Polo cologne.

Other Old School Posts by Bonita Applebum

Sir Chuck D.

Missy Elliot: Like a brick wall, I’m too hard to break

How Sir Mix-A-Lot led me to Seattle

Ms. Hill got skills, that’s a gift, it’s real


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Reverend Roberto
    Jul 24, 2011 @ 14:26:59

    I wish I knew YOUR backstory, but only because of your keen insight into older hip-hop. I’m a loyal reader and I always am surprised by your insight. And yes modern hip hop is dead.


    • Bonita Applebum
      Jul 26, 2011 @ 09:22:18

      You’re comment made my day! Thanks! I’m on an old school kick lately, so keep an eye out for more posts about the big dogs. I worry these young’uns don’t know the roots.


  2. darryl collins
    Jul 28, 2011 @ 17:19:04

    Thanks for schooling me and showing the way. You are the professor of Hip Hop Studies. You should teach a class. I’m just saying…


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