2017 Honoree
slick rick

Slick Rick

Early Years Ricky Martin Lloyd Walters, better known to the world as “Slick Rick”, is a Grammy-nominated, English-born performer, and the most successful British-American rapper in music history, who is known as Hip-Hop’s Greatest Storyteller. Born and raised in the London district of Surrey, to an English/Jamaican Family.

In 1976, he and his family emigrated to the United States, settling in The Bronx. At Fiorello H. Laguardia High School of Music & Art, where he majored in graphics and visual art, Rick met Dana Dane. The pair became close friends and formed The Kangol Crew, performing at school contests, parks and local hole-in-the-wall clubs.

At a 1983 talent showcase he entered, Rick met Doug E. Fresh. Impressed by Rick's talent, Doug made him a member of his Get Fresh Crew (which also included DJs Chill Will and Barry Bee). Doug's beatbox and Rick's fresh flow turned "The Show"/"La Di Da Di" into an international anthem that turned rap music on its head, and became the launching pad for "Hip Hop's greatest storyteller and pioneering what is referred to as the “Golden Age of Hip Hop”.

Both tracks gained major mainstream attention, they appeared on Top of the Pops and Soul Train with the Get Fresh Crew. Reflecting on the double-sided gem in Rolling Stone magazine, Roots drummer and Tonight Show bandleader Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson said, "Point blank: Slick Rick's voice was the most beautiful thing to happen to hip-hop culture [...] Rick is full of punchlines, wit, melody, cool cadence, confidence and style. He is the blueprint."

In 1986, Slick Rick joined Russell Simmons' Rush Artist Management and became the third artist signed to Def Jam Records, the leading rap/hip-hop label at the time. Collaborating with his friend, DJ Vance Wright, Walters produced his solo debut.

He has four multi-platinum albums to his credit – the landmark The Great Adventures of Slick Rick (1988), The Ruler’s Back (1991), Behind Bars (1994) and The Art of Storytelling (1999). His iconic cautionary tale “Children’s Story,“ released in 1988 as a single, was finally transformed into a book for kids in April 2017, by Traffic Entertainment. The timeless classic Children’s Story was the full inspiration for Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It”.

Rick has collaborated with a range of musical icons, from Jay-Z and Missy Elliot to Outkast, Jermaine Dupri, Macy Gray, Mos Def, Common, De La Soul, R. Kelly and Aaliyah. His music has been sampled and interpolated over 650 times, by such artists as Eminem, Mariah Carey, Beyonce, Beastie Boys, TLC, Nas, Miley Cyrus, Kanye West, Black Star, The Notorious B.I.G., Snoop Dogg, KRS One, Color Me Badd, making him the most sampled hip-hop artist ever. Many of the new songs became hit singles. “This is How We Do It” Underscoring his timeless influence, Rick was awarded radio station Hot 97’s Icon Award June 8, 2017 – the first-ever Global Hip Hop Day – for his passionate dedication to the past, present and future of hip-hop music.

Ever the influence, Rick has been referenced in over 60 songs, from the early 1990s to present day, by recording artists such as Tupac Shakur, Run DMC, Nicki Minaj, J Cole, Pitbull, will.i.am, Amy Winehouse, Big Sean, Migos and Future. Slick Rick has also acted and appeared in ten movies and videos. Rick’s own music is responsible for over The Ruler is his own self producer strongly known for his fashion sense, his infamous eye-patch and heavily adorned jewelry, the first rapper truly bringing head to toe glamour to hip hop culture. This self-expression through personal style has become his signature and has never been successfully duplicated. There is only one Slick Rick. Music isn’t Rick’s only passion. In addition to being a uniquely gifted lyricist, he is an actor and music producer known his fashion sense and growing list of business and philanthropic endeavors. Rick has partnered with various organizations to raise awareness and funds for various issues impacting underserved communities. He devotes time to mentoring youth, providing counsel on the dangers of street violence.

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