The first time I heard the British-Born, Bronx raised Slick Rick was around 1986 and he was calling himself MC Ricky D. He was featured on a now infamous song called “The Show” by Doug E. Fresh and the Get Fresh Crew. That song as well as the single’s b-side “La Di Da Di” are now staples at Hip Hop parties around the world. The popularity of these tunes can certainly be credited to Doug E. Fresh’s beatbox and unmistakable charisma but neither of these successful gems would be as memorable without the addition of MC Ricky D’s signature style and storytelling abilities. Rapping in an English accent about meeting a girl on the D train that roared like “Tony the Tiger” while incorporating lyrics from the Beatles’ “My Michelle” – Ricky D immediately established himself as one of the most original and creative emcees to ever spit.
“La Di Da Di” showcases even more of Rick’s ability to captivate audiences with his humorous and skillfully delivered narratives. This jam is Rick rhyming over Doug E. Fresh’s beatbox for nearly 5 mins. ” Mirror Mirror on the Wall/Who is the top choice of them all? ” – This hilariously lewd tale of gold toothed kid with a penchant for fly gear, like gucci underwear and Bally shoes, (remember those?) has been sampled over 700 hundred times by everyone from Beyonce (“Party”) to Kanye West (Good Friday).
Slick Rick isn’t the first storyteller in Hip Hop, but he is definitely one of the best. When 1988’s “The Great Adventures of Slick Rick” dropped it cemented him as a god in the Pantheon of Hip Hop Music. Packed with classics like, “A Children’s Story,” “Mona Lisa” and “Hey Young World,” this album made it clear that this master of ceremonies had fables and stories for days. His career as a performer and recording artist has spanned nearly three decades and included collaborations with Outkast, Nas and many other artists that he influenced. If there is any other torch-bearer in the realm of Hip Hop storytelling then that man would be Brooklyn’s Dana Dane. When I first heard 1987’s “Cinderfella Dana Dane” I dug it, but I found his style to be remarkably similar to Slick Rick’s. Later it was revealed that they were high school friends and partners in the Kangol Crew. It made sense that Dana Dane would display some of the same elements that Rick had dropped on us. The British accent was there, but songs like “Nightmares” and the aforementioned “Cinderfella..” (both found on his debut “Dana Dane with Fame”) showcased Dana Dane’s ability to deliver his own “urban” versions of familiar fairy tales . His songs have an appeal that is not lost on the hood, even if he sometimes explores the land of fantasy. When Dana Dane hit the scene it was clear that a new lane was flourishing and that another voice was welcomed to rock alongside the ruler. Both of these legends will be at the Pageant on May 16th along with Whodini’s Jalil and Ecstasy. Do yourself a favor and experience the timeless music of some of the best to ever do it!
To purchase tickets to the show click here for Ticketmaster or go to the Pageant Box Office