Slick Rick's 'The Great Adventures Of Slick Rick' At 35

Slick Rick's 'The Great Adventures Of Slick Rick' At 35

Published Wed, November 1, 2023 at 3:00 PM EDT

In rap's great year of '88, many artists released some of their most celebrated full-length albums. Rakim, Marley Marl, Biz Markie, Public Enemy, Ice-T, N.W.A, Too $hort, and so many more released albums that year that still reverberate. Hip-Hop's greatest import, Slick Rick, also released his greatest and most successful project in '88. In October of 1988, Slick Rick dropped The Great Adventures Of Slick Rick, and cemented his position os Rap's greatest storyteller.

The Exit

As news of Slick Rick exiting the Get Fresh Crew in the mid '80's started to circulate, fans wondered if either side would be able to survive. After all, Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick along with DJs Chill Will & Barry B created '85's biggest Rap record with the enduring classic single, "The Show"/"Ladi Dadi." Within a couple of years, New York radio started to broadcast early versions of Rick's "Treat Her Like A Prostitute," and by 1988 a revamped version was paired with "A Teenage Love" and released on Def Jam Records. "Teenage Love" and it's popular video were extremely well received, garnering prime time radio play, as well as regular rotation on the newly formed Yo! MTV Raps. The single, which satisfied underground rap listeners as well as mainstream fans, was the perfect set up for a Slick Rick full length project.

The Great Adventures Of Slick Rick

In addition to stellar production by Rick himself, the late Jam Master Jay, and The Bomb Squad, The Great Adventures Of Slick Rick contains some of Rick's best storytelling. "The Moment I Feared" is the tale of Rick smoking a blunt on his lunch break and going to the famed Latin Quarter nightclub to see Boogie Down Productions later that day. At the show, Rick gets robbed for his jewels, and takes the train home. Rick runs into Danny Boy and his girlfriend Sarah, who seduces Rick. Danny Boy catches Rick and Sarah, and Rick has to murder them both —an interesting enough story on its own, but Rick's execution and delivery make it one of his best.

Rick is known for portraying multiple characters in his stories, in fact it's actually one of his strengths. "K.I.T. (What's The Scoop)" finds Rick portraying himself, Michael Knight, as will as K.I.T., the futuristic "smart car" from the 1982 television series Knight Rider. K.I.T. and Rick crash a rap contest where Rick's stolen crown resides. "K.I.T.(What's The Scoop)" is a shining example of Rick's innovative and imaginative storytelling abilities.

"Mona Lisa" finds Rick in a pizza shop where he encounters an 18 year-old young lady who calls herself Mona Lisa. Rick offers to buy her a slice before Mona accuses Rick of being a thief after catching a glimpse of his gold grill. The genius of Rick voicing multiple characters and adjusting his vocal tone and cadence to fit each is on full display on "Mona Lisa." In his trademark style, Rick sings the hook of "Walk On By" at the end of the story.

"Hey Young World," with its reggae-influenced track, is a warning to young people to carve their own lanes and not succumb to peer pressure. Portions of "Hey Young World" have been sampled by artists as big as TLC, a testament to its enduring production.

"Children's Story" another cautionary tale with incredibly detailed storytelling, is perhaps Rick's biggest and highest-selling single. Like "Hey Young World," it has been sampled by many artists, most notably his label mate Montell Jordan for his 1995 smash hit "This Is How We Do It."

"Teacher, Teacher," Lick The Balls," "Indian Girl," and "Lets Get Crazy" complete an album which has held up incredibly well over the last three decades, and continues to influence and inspire the genre.

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