Famous for being one of hip-hop’s greatest pioneers, Slick Rick is responsible for some of the genre’s most legendary classics. His debut album, The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, spawned major hits like “Hey Young World” and “Children’s Story”. In addition to his unique way of rapping, Slick Rick also became well known for wearing a patch over his right eye. Even though it’s been more than 20 years since Slick Rick released his most recent album, he continues to leave an impact on rap music. His songs have been sampled by some of the most successful artists in the world including Kanye West and Beyonce, and there’s no doubt the list will only continue to grow. Keep reading to learn 10 things you didn’t know about Slick Rick.
1. He Was Born In England
The Bronx is the place that most people associate with Slick Rick, but many people will be surprised to know that he isn’t originally from New York. In fact, he isn’t from the United States at all. Rick was born in England to Jamaican parents. He and his family moved to the United States when he was 11 years old.
2. The Patch On His Eye Isn’t Just About Style
When Slick Rick hit the scene with a patch over his right eye, some people just assumed that it was a stylistic choice. However, there’s much more to it than that. When Rick was a kid, he was hit in the eye with broken glass which left him permanently blind in his right eye.
3. He Had Some Trouble With The Law
Throughout his career, Slick Rick was known for making music that was on the more lighthearted side. In real life, though, he’s had to deal with some very serious things. In the summer of 1990, he shot at his cousin and former bodyguard, Mark Plummer, after spotting Plummer in his neighborhood. The two had a very tense relationship after Slick Rick fired Plummer from being his bodyguard and Plummer had threatened him on several occasions. A bullet his Plummer, as well as a bystander, and Slick Rick pled guilty to attempted murder. He ultimately served five years in prison.
4. He Loves Fashion
Looking good is something that has always been a big part of Slick Rick’s brand, and it is something he continues to enjoy. He loves being able to express himself through his clothing and he has recently started to get in the fashion game. In addition to doing a collaboration with Puma, he also sells his own merchandise.
5. He Fell in Love With Storytelling As A Kid
One of the things that made Slick Rick different from his contemporaries was the fact that his music was heavily based on storytelling. Slick Rick told Billboard, “I was always into telling stories and stuff like that and adding a little humor to it. So when hip-hop came along, it was just like turning the stories into rap.”
6. He Used To Make Beats
Rapping is obviously what most people know Slick Rick for, but he was also a producer early in his career. He used to enjoy making beats and produced several songs on his first album including “Hey Young World” and “Children’s Story”. However, as processes and technology became more complicated, he decided that he wanted to focus all of his efforts on rapping.
7. He’s A Father
Slick Rick has never been the type to share much information about his personal life. One thing we do know, however, is that he has been married to Mandy Aragones since 1997. Slick Rick is also the father of two children, one with his wife and another from a previous relationship.
8. He Used To Work For The Postal Service
Before Slick Rick’s rap career took off, he was living a very normal life. During an interview with Wax Poetics, Slick Rick said, “I was a mail clerk making 560 bucks a month. I had a girl and the whole shebang, so I had to be budgeting shit all the time. But I was basically still doing okay for myself.”
9. He Enjoys Listening To Younger Rappers
Over the years, there have been countless debates over whether or not hip-hop is dying. Lots of older people have expressed their distaste for newer music. Slick Rick, however, is a fan of several of today’s biggest artists. He likes listening to Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Rocky, and Jaden to name a few.
10. He Isn’t A Fan Of His Second Album
The sophomore slump is a real thing in the music industry and lots of artists have a difficult time topping the success of their first album. Unfortunately, for Slick Rick, this is something he had to deal with. However, it’s not just the fans who weren’t feeling his second album – he didn’t like it either. When asked about his feelings towards his second album, he told Wax Poetics, “I don’t like it…A lot of the music was added to my vocals after the fact, so I don’t think it complemented me correctly. It definitely wasn’t my best work. The rhymes were too fast, so you couldn’t get into the stories. It was just really rushed.”