Slick Rick
Can I Live?

slickrick200.jpgSlick Rick is not a terrorist. Sure, he has an eye patch, but he’s not even a freaking pirate. Slick Rick is a 41-year-old legend of American popular music, and yet, our government wants him to get the hell out. That’s right, the Department of Homeland Security has once again urged a court to reopen Rick’s case, which could result in him being deported back to his native England.

It all started 16 long years ago. At the height of his recording career, Rick went to prison for committing a felony. After serving three years, the government said he was rehabilitated and he was released. In 1996, a new law was passed that said aliens who have served five years could be deported back to their homeland. Luckily a judge ruled that Rick, who was born in England and immigrated to the United States at the age of 11, had served less than five years, so he was permitted to stay. Things were fine until the events of September 11, 2001 prompted the Department of Homeland Security to step in and do everything they could to get potentially dangerous aliens out of the country. Gone were the nuanced, personalized decisions—Ricky D was just a number to them. After performing on a cruise boat off the coast of Miami, Ricky D was arrested and thrown in jail without bail for 17 months while they decided his fate.

A judge in New York once again came to the same decision—Rick was not a threat and was well within his bounds to stay in America. In late 2003 he was able to resume his life, until recently. Despite the fact his crime was committed and tried in New York, the government is now trying to re-try Rick in a Florida court, where he was detained back in 2002 for “deporting himself”. XXLMAG.COM caught up with the Ruler to discuss the government’s campaign again him and other immigrants, as well as the lack of mature music in hip-hop’s marketplace. Herrrrre we go.

It’s pretty clear that you’re not a terrorist. Why can’t the Department of Homeland Security get that through their heads?
The law says that if you’ve served more than five years, you can be automatically deported. I had only served three years. The other four years were served fighting the immigration, so that brought us to seven years. It’s just a basic common sense thing. The judge already had granted me my freedom on those grounds [in 2003]. The only reason I can think that they would bring it up again would be because of everything that’s happening now with trying to fix their immigration situation.

The attitude since 9/11 is that we have to give up some of our individual freedom in order to make everyone safer. What do you see as the alternative?

It needs to be more humane. Everything can’t be like, robotic or mechanical. You can’t lose compassion for mankind along the way. I mean, we’re talking about something that happened 16 years ago. Some of the things are kind of obvious. This was a law they had passed after I served the sentence. If you serve your time, you’re rehabilitated, you’re in the streets, everybody is content, fine. And then you have to go back to jail for four and a half years to decide if you should be deported? That’s longer than the time you did for the crime! And then 16 years later, for you to bring up the case again? I’m serving more time playing political games than becoming a rehabilitated human or whatever.

You have the press conference with the Hip-Hop Action Summit coming up tomorrow. What do you hope that will accomplish?
To give awareness to the public, and to keep their minds on what’s going on around them in the world. There’s not much people can do right now. Maybe later on they can sign a petition, but right now the idea is to just to open up everybody’s mind. You don’t see too many [immigrants] who have high exposure to the public, except for people like myself, which isn’t even that high. Imagine if I was John Lennon or something? The problem is we don’t show a side of compassion in our theories. We’re talking about abuse of the judicial system. It’s not that you can blame one person or two people, it’s just that sometimes you’ve got to look at people as humans and not as machinery that can be moved around for the benefit of Homeland Security or whoever.

Have you thought about what you would do if you lost and had to be deported?
Well, if you lose and you get deported, what are you gonna do? You gonna pack your suitcases and you’re gonna leave, ain’t you? There’s only so much you can do. If it doesn’t work out in your favor, then you just gotta move on to the next thing.

Do you feel like you have any connection to England at this point?
Not really. I left in 1976, so it would be like a fish out of water. I was 11 years old.

Have you been recording much music lately?
Well, not right now. I’m waiting for a market to open up for a [more] mature audience to see where we can fit in. We need to be inspired. Right now, the market is pretty much…it’s not bad, but it caters to the youth. And the youth market, they really talk about stuff that we’ve already talked about. Going to the club, meeting girls, trying to be the tough guy here and there. All of that stuff we did in our 20s, and I’m 41 now. I’d rather talk about things that 41-year-olds talk about, but without sounding preachy, just having a good time. This how we talk, this is how we move. We just keep it sensible and true.

Why do you think hip-hop has so much trouble with maturity?
You gotta look at it like this: hip-hop never had a blueprint. It was just something that was brought up for fun. And now hip-hop is about 40 years old. But it doesn’t act like it’s 40 years old, it acts like it’s in some kind of remission stage and it can’t get past 20 or 25. Like once everyone hits about 25 or 26, they start lying about their age. It’s just the pressure of the market. The market forces you to be younger than you are. When you hit a certain age, the record companies are not that interested in you. And then you lose inspiration too, because you don’t want to feel like you’re competing with children for a children’s market. You wanna be like Prince, or these older artists that have their own audience.

What about all your fans from when you first came out who are now grown up? Aren’t they looking for something more mature?
Yes, I definitely think there’s an audience. If you’re a hip-hop fan, you’re not gonna want to listen to childhood raps if you’re like my age, but it’s not really happening. Music has become more commercial. It’s no longer free spirits that were blessed with a talent that had a market to sparkle. Now it’s just become an industry, a business that just puts a Black artist on a song to sing about sex and girls and that’s it. Everything is pretty routine and monotonous now.

What would have to happen for that market to really open up?
I guess it would just take real genuine people with genuine talent to be able to present their gift up front. Like, for example, when Avril Lavigne came out. That’s her name, the young White girl?

Yep.
The way she sang that song, “It’s a damn cold night/Trying to figure out this life/Is there anybody out there?” That made mature sense. Even with the other guy, what’s his name…“We’re just ordinary people…”

John Legend?
Yeah, see what I’m saying? Songs like that, you don’t hear [in hip-hop]. People are not relating as a whole anymore. Only certain songs inspire us as a whole, and there’s not too many.

Just so you know, the rumor going around is that you’re working on a new album called The Adventure Continues.
[Laughs.] I mean, that’s a good title to tell you the truth.

What’s your relationship with Def Jam like nowadays?
Right now, like I said, they’re catering more to a younger market. They pretty much put us on the shelf, you know, until we can finesse a record deal with somebody else or just say I want to be dropped or anything of that nature. I just hope that this record label gets to see that there is a market for this mature rap.

I’ve heard from a few different artists who were signed to Def Jam in the ’90s that they stopped being attentive to them when the regime change happened.
I wouldn’t just say it’s Def Jam, it’s the whole industry in general. Too much catering to the youth mentality. Imagine if all our stars—the Beatles, whoever—all they sang about was womanizing, and stuff that we did as kids but have now grown up. It would get tiring after a while. You won’t even enjoy yourself when you go to a disco and a club anymore because everything sounds shallow.

So if the market does open up and it comes time to release another album, would you look at other labels, or would you stay on Def Jam?
If that’s what it comes down to. Right now, my record label has the option to do whatever they gonna do. Once they decide what they’re gonna do, then I can decide what I’m gonna do.

  • Ghetto Guevara

    First

  • Ghetto Guevara

    Can I Live?

  • Ghetto Guevara

    Slick Rick one of the greatest story tellers of all time.

  • Young Legend

    LOL Nigga Shut Up Already..

  • http://forums.onsmash.com/?act=idx Young Legend

    Damn Def Jam Really Fucking Up..

  • The DJ Formerly Known as N-CREDIBLE

    I know why they on dude like that…they know what time of day it is with him…Slick killed at the JazzFest in New Orleans…he mentioned how the Feds was on his ass…but fuck the government…

  • Fernando

    The Art of Storytelling II was a really sick album. Rick needs to get with S&S and put somthin together.

    Jay-Z is W-A-C-K

  • cormega

    rick the ruler!

  • Vindi

    He’s got a point about the market today its fucked up, i’m 24 n feel like i’m 2 mature 4 a lot of the shit that comes out

    http://www.myspace.com/vindiakaleon
    http://www.soundclick.com/se23sfinest

  • raul

    good interview rick you one of my favorite rappers of all time. And an inspiration to me. I hope everything work out for you. The Adventure Continues is a good name for a title. You should run with it. You are right I just turned 26 and some times I feel old. Hope everything
    works for you

  • JMK

    i wouldnt blame jayz.. rick is right, theres no market for his music atm. defjam cant do nothin bout it, why would they market a record if they noe its gotta be a commercial flop?

    The adventures of slick rick AND the art of storyteling.. BOTH CLASSICS though

  • http://www.xxlmag.com L.A.’s Finest

    Slick Rick is bad, they need to let that fool stay here. What’s he gonna do in England??

  • m. atta

    go home
    ha ha i hope they deport that ignent nigga
    i saw him in london
    and he said some bullshit about some other religion
    throw him tha fuck OUT HA HA HA U FUCKING COCK SUCKER

  • from tha DEC

    alphabet boys always gotta be on someone dick FUCK 12

  • -SMR-

    One of the greatest let him stay, and Slick, please drop another album!

  • Trae Bizzo

    Do ya chain hang low? or Chicken noodle soup? couldn’t decide so i left em both on the shelf, Mc Ricky D Forever.

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  • http://www.blacksunexperience.com KidChameleon

    25-45 year olds listen to hip hop?
    Nooooooooooo…
    You’re kidding.
    Hahaha

  • alleyeCNtower

    Slick Rick hit the nail on the head. Wake up and learn, youngun’s.

    “Hip hop never had a blueprint.”

    It’s 40 years old now. The elders and the legends have to set the standard for their style of hip hop. It’s not like Black people still don’t need wisdom or rhythm at that age, LOL! The labels have to start marketing music like mature people TO mature people, and not just push sex and violence, which excites all wannabe rebels and thrill seeking suburban kids… plus the few real heads who can relate to the reality rap.

    But so few MCs are REALLY rapping about reality… just ghetto fantasies, actually.

    Slick Rick, come teach these new jack motherfuckers how to tell a story!

  • Johnny Blaze

    We’d love to have the Ruler back in the UK….

    Stay Up Rick….

  • jus

    Once upon a time not long ago,
    when people wore pajamas and lived life slow,
    When laws were stern and justice stood,
    and people were behavin’ like they ought ta good,
    There lived a lil’ boy who was misled,
    by anotha lil’ boy and this is what he said:
    “Me, Ya, Ty, we gonna make sum cash,
    robbin’ old folks and makin’ tha dash”,
    They did the job, money came with ease,
    but one couldn’t stop, it’s like he had a disease,
    He robbed another and another and a sista and her brotha,
    tried to rob a man who was a D.T. undercover,
    The cop grabbed his arm, he started acting erratic,
    he said “Keep still, boy, no need for static”,
    Punched him in his belly and he gave him a slap,
    but little did he know the lil’ boy was strapped,
    The kid pulled out a gun, he said “Why did ya hit me ?”,
    the barrel was set straight for the cop’s kidney,
    The cop got scared, the kid, he starts to figure,
    “I’ll do years if I pull this trigga”,
    So he cold dashed and ran around the block,
    cop radioes it to another lady cop,
    He ran by a tree, there he saw this sista,
    a shot for the head, he shot back but he missed her,
    Looked around good and from expectations,
    so he decided he’d head for the subway stations,
    But she was coming and he made a left,
    he was runnin’ top speed till he was outta breath,
    Knocked an old man down and swore he killed him,
    then he made his move to an abandoned building,
    Ran up the stairs up to the top floor,
    opened up the door there, guess who he saw?,
    Dave the dope fiend shootin’ dope,
    who don’t know the meaning of water nor soap,
    He said “I need bullets, hurry up, run!”
    the dope fiend brought back a spanking shotgun,
    He went outside but there was cops all over,
    then he dipped into a car, a stolen Nova (?),
    Raced up the block doing 83,
    crashed into a tree near university,
    Escaped alive though the car was battered,
    rat-a-tat-tatted and all the cops scattered,
    Ran out of bullets and still had static,
    grabbed a pregnant lady and out the automatic,
    Pointed at her head and he said the gun was full o’ lead,
    he told the cops “Back off or honey here’s dead”,
    Deep in his heart he knew he was wrong,
    so he let the lady go and he starts to run on,
    Sirens sounded, he seemed astounded,
    before long the lil’ boy got surrounded,
    He dropped the gun, so went the glory,
    and this is the way I must end this story,
    He was only seventeen, in a madman’s dream,
    the cops shot the kid, I still hear him scream,
    This ain’t funny so don’t ya dare laugh,
    just another case ’bout the wrong path,
    Straight ‘n narrow or yo’ soul gets cast(?).

    thats how you tell a story in ya rhymes!!!!!

  • http://XXL Jay Arrington

    I agree with Vindi. I’m 23 and I feel I’m too mature for the music that is among us today. Slick Rick hit the nail on the head with this one. I really hope everything works out for him with this deportation situation. When you have a legend like him speaking the truth about the state of HIP-HOP you definfitely need to open your minds as well as your ears. Everyone needs to listen and learn. You’ll never know where you’re going unless you know where you came from. Hopefully Slick Rick doesn’t have to go back to where he came from. PEACE 2 THE RULER!!!!

  • WOW

    HIP HOP is about 28 years old …it needs balance you can talk about your chain and your fake drug dealing stories but at the same time there needs to be positive raps on the radio too ..it needs balance bad …

  • Trouble T. Roy

    M. Atta you a bitch ass nigga. Shut the fuck up. Slick Rick just doin his thang. He shouldn’t be punished for our country being incompitent… Everyone makes mistakes. The man served his time, let him live his life.

  • Three4

    Slick Rick is the greatest!

  • BIG ED FROM NY

    rick is THE story teller…no one flows like rick no one ryhmes like rick that ni99a is the greatest….

    “well it was one of those days
    no much to do,
    i was chillin downtown
    with my old school crew
    i went into a store
    to buy a slice of pizza
    i bumped into a girl
    her name was mona what?
    mona lisa…”
    one of the greatests ryhmes ever……

  • vincent

    m.atta s comment is just very sad, how dare you? do you ever think? you know what jail means? remember the guy did four more years for no reason, question your country you ignorant fool.
    anyway. here’s a true artist, a guy who built hip hop and gets so little respect. I d love to hear more from him. now as a 28 year old i think there’s plenty of good intelligent stuff outhere, the roots, the others, common, q tip, rhyme fest, lupe, andre, guru, dre etc. there s everything in rap, you just have to look for it.

  • OG Frank

    Rick The Ruler Is A LEGEND. He’s real,and what he says is real. Everyone’s talking about how they fuck bitches,and actually he’s better than many people in the game today.

  • DJ

    He hasnt dun anything to get deported over why wld they deport a legand? dats fucked up.

  • rip van winkle

    He definitely made a song called, “I Want the Butthole,” that’s for sure.

  • http://xxl.com Young gutta aka Paper boy(long live da king)MW

    Slick rick is a hip hop icon.No one can say anything negative.ya’ll niggas might as well hop onto the slick rick dick ridin train bitches!!!HAHA!!

  • Dr Flav

    He didnt even want to say the name Def Jam. Stay diligent brother Rick, you are etched in stone tablets of Hip Hop. We need that album, I know you sitting on about 3 records worth of material.

  • rec

    I think it has less to do with the market and more to do with the labels ingnoring this market. Where are the hiphop beatles, and macartney’s. instead we call them 60′s and 70′s babies and call them irrelevant…ungrateful and disgraceful.
    Stay up Rick!

  • Stax On Deck

    Leave Him B

  • Ghost of 2Pac

    Yo Rick! Tell the children another story! They need to learn! One Love from above! Pac!

  • http://WWW.MYSPACE.COM/LARRYBRITE Larry_Brite

    Stay Up Rick. Your case is another example how the people that write the laws – never had to deal w/ tha B.S. IN general.

  • Fred D

    Rick DA RULER!!!! U changed the Game Homeboy!!!

  • Jaffar

    Folks have to realize,whats legend to “us”,the hip hop generation,is’nt too much of anything to”them”,the government.Ricks’ just a number to these cocksuckas!it’s nothin but politricks baby!
    Stay up Rick!

  • Chance

    Slick Rick is still in my CD rotation dude has crazy flow

  • Harry

    Yo Rouler – I hope you’re back soon

  • Mattski

    Been thinking about this a lot – look at other Black musical styles, eg jazz, Blues, rock n roll – and ask why the artists in these genres are able to grow, make and play music well into their maturity. Why doesn’t this happen in hip hop? I’m 40 and still listening to rap. Yeah, able to enjoy and appreciate a drug tale if it’s told intellegently, but also looking for something with a bit of variety in it….

  • KENNY

    Only a very few in history had a tru mouth-piece…most of the top rappers in the 90′s not only took shit straight from the Ruler’s mouth but acted like they made it up!! Today these new motherfuckers are jackin 90′s artist’s flow that they took from Rick and probally don’t even fuckin know it….
    Another thing!!! His flow always had no age barrier…Its Proper Grammar!! not some Fucking bullshit (country) hick grammar… YOU CRUMBS!!

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  • D

    It’s sad they’re puting so much time and effort into deporting him when there are far more dangerous and more illegal immigrants they should be worrying about

  • moccagrl

    16 years, come on. They need to be worried about the real issues facing the world today and keep the real terrorist off the planes, trains, and automobiles. Also stop letting them enroll in our colleges to learn our history !!!!!

  • Chris Bowman ( ChefB1 )

    Yeah baby!!

    Ricky D, TRULY one of the greatest.

    Keep your head up Ruler, I hope it all ends well.

    Slick Rick……Legend.

  • ThatNiggaSki

    The Ruler is right. there is not enough music comming from artist like kanye, common,mosdef,Lupe and the ones that try well they just try too hard and sound damn lame

  • http://www.myspace.com/jonnielasvegas JonnieLasVegas aka ColdSteel

    On the deportation tip…Dat’s fucked up fa real. But it’s something that Latinos & especially Mejicanos deal with all day every day! They always tryna get rid of the foundation. But what happens when you do dat….it all comes tumblin’ down. Even after 9-11, which is da excuse constantly thrown at us, it’s predominantly latinos gettin’ fucked wit’ & deported, not arabs (who white america says we should fear), whites, asians, or blacks. Not dat any should be deported, I mean goddamn we supposed to be da melting pot, da land of da free & shit. I got mad respect for Rick da Ruler & I hope dey let him stay, but if he was latino no one would care & would probably jump on da bandwagon yelling to deport him.

  • Voltio

    Moccagirl u’s an stupidassed uncle tom modern day slave bitch. What tha fuck do u mean by OUR colleges and OUR history u ignorant hoodrat piece of shit? Ur history is in Africa with Kunta Kinte and co. U don’t have to go more than 50-40 years back when ur grandmoms couldn’t ride a bus in front cos white people considered her a monkey. And u know what bitch? They still think u’s a monkey, so in stead of waving that flag which represents oppression, racism, murder and imperialism, u should consider sticking it up ur cornhole, cos that’s where the crackers have been sticking it to black people since day one in the United States of Degenerate Assholes…

    Viva Hugo Chavez putos

    Ps: Slick Rick can choke on a fat one and I hope that brown-nosing pussy nigga gets departed too… M.Atta whup that trick! Yeah nigga, that’s wassuuuup! hahahaha

  • Big Chops

    LAST H-A H-A H-A !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://yahoo.com Monte

    JonnieLasVegas aka ColdSteel…that iz sum bullshit man…this suppose to be a melting pot of diversity and culture…Man FUCK BUSH AN THEM DAM REPUBlICANZ…WIT THEIR BULLSHIT LAWZ…Rick juz keep ya head up an don’t let theze BITCHEZ get to you man.

    Rick Da Ruler!

    Watch what cons DO, not what cons SAY !!! (Hypocrisy)

    Exposing the CON in CONservative !!!

  • Vashu

    i hope he gets deported to australia, so i can admire him from a shorter distance

  • RotterdamSoldier

    Damn your gouverment don’t play over there.You would think that they had more urgent things to do than this…I mean shit…give Slick a pass man…For those of us who grew up with him he is still a LEGEND!!!!!
    Stay up Slick…they can’t get the Ruler down!!!

  • Goose

    RICKY D!!!!!!!!!!!!

    HIP HOP NEEDS YOU, we need another alum right now

  • Big 21

    Damn MC Ricky D needs to shapen things up a little and record a few songs. Well, I guess he can do whatever he wants though.

  • lowdowg

    dope guy!

  • meazoner

    m. atta shut the fuk up!!!!! your so fuking ignorant your probably listening to that fake ass hip hop today yelling out ballin like a dick slick rick is the fuking best and he is a fuking legend and old skool rap was the shit hip hop needs to change it hopefully it will go bak to wat it used to be

  • PhibbZ

    thats what im sayin! shut the hell up atta. slick, do yo thang!

  • funkyintellect

    I’d like to see a money grabba, flippa flappa jibba jabba, blibba blabba wannabe rappa go toe to toe, flow fo flow with RICK. mtv or whatever, 1 minute each, back and forth. Let’s take it to the stage sucka! You can’t buy SKILLZ. It’s funny to see rappers that are following rappers that are following rappers that are trying to follow rappers who try to spit like they was either Kris, Kane, Rakim or SLICK RICK! Rick, you keep the tongue sharp, I’ll keep the Haze uncut, and we’ll meet up after Nov. 2008- KNOWLEDGE to the people. It’s easier to get a rope through the eye of a needle, than it is for a sex & money rapper to get skillz. A real thug is a thug that’s hush.

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