Editorial, Main, rileysbest

#SALUTE: Slick Rick’s Debut Turns 29

As the gap between the old school and new school becomes broader and more apparent, so does the necessity for…

As the gap between the old school and new school becomes broader and more apparent, so does the necessity for icons like Slick Rick to be honored. On this, the 29th anniversary of his classic Def Jam debut The Great Adventures Of Slick Rick, we thought we’d take a few minutes to help newer/younger fans understand why us “old heads” hold Ricky D in such reverence after all these years.

It’s kind of hard for anyone under 25 to conceptualize a time when Hip Hop wasn’t a well-oiled machine with multiple touchpoints and sub-genres, but there was a time when it was a lot more … straightforward, for lack of a better term. Much like Rakim, who came in the game with a level of wordplay that blew people away, Slick Rick — a member of Dougie Fresh’s Get Fresh Crew — brought a level of storytelling to the genre that has carried forward and created a platform for generations of artists after him to bring that thematic, content-rich song layout to the game.

“Children’s Story” and “Mona Lisa” were marvels on so many levels; the way that Rick switched up his voice to give life to multiple characters, his crystal clear vocals, the friendly/approachable English accent — it changed the game. His entire debut was full of gems, like “Moment I Feared,” which follows Rick on a possibly the most unfortunate series of back to back events ever, or “Kit,” where he and the infamous car from Nightrider attempt to find Rick’s stolen crown (a reference to bummy impersonators).

“I was never the type to say freestyle raps, I usually tell a story, and to do that well I’ve always had to work things out beforehand.“ — Slick Rick

Then there was the letter to the youth of the late 80’s “Hey Young World,” which I’ve written about in detail in the past:

“The average (young) hip-hop head in NYC in the late 80’s, early 90’s lived through some arguably wild shit. 1989–1993 saw the highest crime rates in the history of the city, teen pregnancy levels were at an all-time high, and the effects of the crack epidemic were everywhere. This was the breeding ground for much of the golden era that hip-hop heads revere so much. It was also during this time that Slick Rick addressed the youth of the time with his classic record.”

Rick did suffer some setbacks in the 90s after catching an attempted murder charge for shooting at former bodyguard — also clipping a bystander in the foot. However, Behind Bars, released during his incarceration, is in my top 50 records ever list, and his Art Of Storytelling LP was a cornerstone of my High School years.

All that to say, if you were born in the 90s, Rick hasn’t done very much for you. However, your fave artist with a storytelling style was likely influenced by another artist who was affected by the greatness of Ricky D. Lets revisit some of our fave cuts from his debut, below.

Salute.

Riley here — father, artist, videographer, professional writer and SERIOUS hip-hop head. I'm a member of the Universal Zulu Nation, and I think everything is better on vinyl. Add me on Twitter! @specialdesigns
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Jae Mansa – “Blessings” Ft. Tee Grizzley

Today, Jae Mansa debuts a hypnotic trapped out jam called “Blessings” featuring “First Day Out” rapper Tee Grizzley and UK…

Today, Jae Mansa debuts a hypnotic trapped out jam called “Blessings” featuring “First Day Out” rapper Tee Grizzley and UK rapper SL on the hook. The song finds the group perfectly riding a celestial beat while they stay on their rap game hustle.

“We’re blessed to be in the position that we in today,” says Jae Mansa. “We could be doing worse. We switched up our lifestyle and grateful we’re able to do music. Touch the people. Everything is a blessing, people out here starving. We stay humble while we doing it. Everything we drop we just hope it do better than the last. We trying to grow.”

“Blessings,”follows the release of the duo’s latest album Yung Kingz available now via their distribution deal with Roc Nation. The album has gained over 6 Million plays on Spotify alone and features the singles “Fate” and “I Swear.”

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@camjamesraps – “Shoot”

Today rapper Cam James releases his new single “Shoot” which is an infectious Summer anthem pushing women to make the…

Today rapper Cam James releases his new single “Shoot” which is an infectious Summer anthem pushing women to make the first move and shoot their shot.

Rising from dorm rooms to major stages, culminating in selections for some of the largest national music festivals in the late 2010s (A3C ’16, SXSW ’17), Cam James has made great strides in a short period of time.

“It’s a story from beginning to end,” Cam James said. “We’re capturing listeners from the jump and giving them a ride through the song’s super-relatable party scenario.”

With a bouncy, soul-tinged backdrop produced by THAIBEATS and an accompanying self-directed music video inspired by the 2001 Black cinema classic Brown Sugar, this is a track that’ll get stuck in your head for weeks.

Influenced by Nas, OutKast and 90’s R&B and using that as a foundation to build his own sound 2011 at Georgia Tech, he started turning his spoken word pieces into raps. These rough and unpolished sessions became cohesive solo projects over the course of six years and five independent projects.

Following his first TV placement on BET’s Being Mary Jane in September 2017, he announced his independent sophomore album, leviTAPE.

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Vevo and YK Osiris Release Live Performance of “Worth It”

Vevo just released a live performance from their newly announced LIFT artist YK Osiris. The 2019 XXL Freshman from Jacksonville,…

Vevo just released a live performance from their newly announced LIFT artist YK Osiris. The 2019 XXL Freshman from Jacksonville, FL artist performs an intimate version of his Billboard Hot 100 hit “Worth It.”

The premiere of “Worth It” is the first of three pieces of content Vevo will release as part of YK Osiris’s LIFT campaign. Vevo’s LIFT initiative connects today’s up-and-coming artists to audiences around the globe through video content. Launched in 2011, Vevo’s artist development program shines a spotlight on the world’s freshest new talent. Vevo LIFT alumni include the likes of Sam Smith, Halsey, Khalid, Jorja Smith, SZA, Julia Michaels, Billie Eilish and CNCO.

Stream it, below.

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It’s Treezus Season: The DC Rapper Is On A Run

The summer season is in full swing, and Washington DC’s Treezus — part of the international arts collective Yellow Cloud…

The summer season is in full swing, and Washington DC’s Treezus — part of the international arts collective Yellow Cloud — has been making some season buzz with his pack of recent singles, “IB2” and “Brainfood, both of which have received dope (AnxiouStoner filmed) visual treatments.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BwfyqtEhFRF/?igshid=12ljyf5t2nr6a

The Birdie Bands produced “IB2” has an insanely eclectic vibe; Treezus’ wildly unique cadence, with peppered pockets of rapid-fire delivery, body the beat. The visual, which was shot throughout Italy (Venice, Naples, a farm in Tuscany and Florence) offers breathtaking scenery, with a dizzying pace that rarely lets you break the engagement. The Hidden Oasis banger “Brain Food,” a smoking anthem (originally released on 4/20) was appropriately shot in Amsterdam. This record gives this strange Bone Thugs vibe as he goes in with his machine gun flow during the latter half of the verse. It’s actually captivating.

Relevant: Work Fi Mi: An Interview With Yellow Cloud

The visuals were directed and edited by Treezus himself; and both really take the songs to new heights, in my humble opinion. The music we’ve featured in the past definitely range in terms of the aesthetic, but real talk, Treezus is more than in his element — and the international story arc he’s on is making his brand sparkle.

Check out “IB2” and “Brain Food” below.

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