Friday, January 17, 2014

Hip Hop Nostalgia 101, Session 24: Slick Rick - The Great Adventures of Slick Rick (1988)

After lacing instant classic "The Show" with Doug E. Fresh, along with its equally classic B-side "La-Di-Da-Di", it was time for Slick Rick to bring his charismatic talents to his own solo debut. This session should be a guaranteed fun one!!!!!



Release date- November 1, 1988




All songs produced by Hank Shocklee and Eric Sadler, except five


1. Treat Her Like a Prostitute
Produced By: Slick Rick

This was quite the opener. Don't let the title fool you on this one. Not only is this a very good song (even filled with doses of humor throughout), there is a message here and it's simple: Rick is not advocating treating all women like "prostitutes", but rather saying, in his own entertaining way, to make sure she is the one before entering a serious relationship. Also, while I wouldn't be surprised at seeing a song title like this today, the flipside of that is the message of a song like that today would be totally different than Rick's message, which is sad.
Grade- A+


2. The Ruler's Back
Produced By: Jason Mizell a/k/a Jam Master Jay 

"Gather round partygoes as if ya still livin/And get on down to the ol slick rhythm"

"And off we go, let the trumpets blow/And hold on, because the driver of the mission is a pro/The ruler's back!"

"Now in these times, well at least to me/There's a lot of people out here tryin to sound like Ricky D/Not tryin to cause trouble cause it's really a small thing/But they're bitin what I'm writin, God it's great being a king"


Classic lines right there. Rick is claiming his lyrical superiority here with such flair and ease it's not even funny.
Grade- A+


3. Children's Story
 Produced By: Slick Rick

One word to describe this is classic. This is one of the greatest songs ever and at the same time, Rick forced other MCs to step up their storytelling game on record. Not only that, he set the standard for effective storytelling in hip hop. Fiction or not, this is dope as hell and it sounds fresh today like it did back in 88 when it debuted. Even my mom still loves this song today!
Grade- A+


4. The Moment I Feared

The strong storytelling continues. I love the interrelated stories on this song. From being "jacked" for his possessions to being caught with another man's woman to being locked down for a murder, Rick tells these stories in the finest way possible (fearing the absolute worst and rightfully so in each situation, lol), over another DOPE beat I might add, along with a memorable shoutout to BDP. Amazing.
Grade- A+


5. Let's Get Crazy

A smooth dude like Slick Rick gettin crazy? Can't be, lol. He makes you want to do just that on this appropriately titled song and it works.
Grade- A


6. Indian Girl (An Adult Story)
Produced By: Slick Rick

Lol, this is quite the funny, entertaining story. The most remarkable thing about this is how Rick tells the story in a male and female voice. I believe this was the first time something was done like this in hip hop.
Grade- A+


7. Teenage Love

I feel today's generation would get a lot out of listening to this song. Rick does a fine job talking about the ups and downs of "young love".
Grade- A+


8. Mona Lisa

     Sample check (at about 4:32)

    
Listen as Rick tells a humorous, but dope tale of courting one Ms. Mona Lisa. 
Grade- A+




9. Kit (What's The Scoop)

  Rick looks to Kit to provide him with the "scoops" on his ever outrageous journeys, lol.
Grade- A


10. Hey Young World
Produced By: Slick Rick

 This is another classic and much like "Teenage Love" , Rick delivers some real life words of wisdom to the young people. Again, today's generation needs to hear a song like this.
Grade- A+


11. Teacher, Teacher

Sample check
 

Rick is playing the important role of a teacher, and of course it's in a true hip hop form!
Grade- A+


  
 12. Lick The Balls


If "The Ruler's Back" claimed his lyrical skills, on this tight closer, Rick is essentially saying if you don't like him or his style, you can do exactly what the song says, lol.
Grade- A+



Before I give my closing thoughts, I want to talk a little bit about what this album has that makes it work (and hold up exceptionally well today).


1. Strong storytelling ---> As I mentioned up top, Rick set the standard when it comes to storytelling in hip hop and I shudder to think who would've opened that particular door if it wasn't for Rick. "The Great Adventures of Slick Rick" is probably one of the most apply titled hip hop albums in history, and when you listen to the way he tells his stories, you can't help but listen and be entertained. Which brings me to my next point.

2. Style ---> There's so much style to be found on this album. Not only are the stories entertaining, but he tells them with such style, almost as if he's (indirectly) saying, "you're cool yourself for listening to my album!" In addition to the style, he brought confidence, and that's pretty clear on songs like "Lick The Balls" and "The Ruler's Back".

3. Humor ---> With the possible exception of Redman in later years, I can't think of any other MC who effectively utilized humor in their music the way Rick does on this album. The humor was well timed throughout and he did have his way of making you laugh. Of course everything can't be serious, and when he touched on serious matters ("Teenage Love" and "Hey Young World"), he was still believable.

4. Dope production ---> In addition to his own tracks, those supplied by Jam Master Jay and Bomb Squad members Hank Shocklee and Eric Sadler provided the perfect soundtrack, if you will, to match Rick stories and it worked like a charm.



This is a personal favorite of mine, definitely a 5 star album and one of the greatest albums of all time. I mentioned a lot of factors as to why this album is so important (and timeless), and I feel the introduction of storytelling in hip hop is why it broke so much ground and influenced countless MCs to incorporate this into their music. Mad props, thanks, and respect to MC Ricky D for this classic.


Final Grade- A+

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