Slick Rick – The Art of Storytelling

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Not only was Slick Rick never good to begin with (don’t worry though, that juvenile fuckery The Great Adventures of Slick Rick is influential!!! Like, if it were suddenly transported out of the canon, the entire hip-hop landscape would change! Oh wait, absolutely not!) (Am I the only one who thinks that the fact that this guy still gets referenced in mega hits to be grotesque? Sort of like Lady Gaga enlisting Too $hort on her last album of all people, who was also a juvenile fucker, but also influential?)…

Let’s start over: not only was Slick Rick never good to begin with, but his comeback album of 1999 makes you wonder just how mediocre his previous two albums were to know what exactly he was coming back from, besides jail. Is Slick Rick a good rapper? Yes, sometimes undeniably: certain internal rhymes in “King Piece in the Chess Game” like “You’re all garbage, that type talk I’m on / Dumb one becoming glad the great one walks among”; the narrative heft of “Who Rotten ‘Em” (except for the bit where he rhymes the article-less “Then start banging on appliance” with “Send this other rapper to the lions”). But with these flimsy fucking beats over 60-feels-like-80 fucking minutes and the fact that he gets pushed aside by Big Boi, Nas and Snoop Dogg on their respective tracks, who could tell? No seriously: you could praise these beats as “spare” to help highlight the rapper (ie. Christgau), but the truth is that they’re mostly interchangeable and weak such that it’s impossible to focus on the rapper without zoning out. And when you start to focus, Slick Rick pretends to be a girl yelling stop before rapping “Knew she was joking / Cause I ain’t even fuck her and her pussy was soaking WET” on a song that reads like a 12 year old’s description of anal sex (the order and the details are just all wrong) while the producer emulates the sound of sperm gushing out in the end.

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