“Once upon a time not long ago/When people wore pajamas and lived life slow,” rapped Slick Rick on “Children’s Story” off The Great Adventures Of Slick Rick, conjuring up one of hip-hop’s most iconic and lasting images with 15 simple words. This weekend marks the anniversary of the release of Slick Rick’s The Great Adventures Of Slick Rick, which dropped on November 3, 1988, and in those 25 years the album’s reputation has only grown.
Along with “Children’s Story,” the album included revelatory tracks like “Teenage Love” and “Hey Young World,” songs that blended gritty details of street life with carefully constructed narratives. Over production from hip-hop luminaries like Bomb Squad and Jam Master Jay, Slick Rick built a vivid and often wild world that fans were shocked by but still willing to return to again and again. In celebration of the album’s anniversary, XXL has put together a list of 10 rap songs that pay tribute to The Great Adventures Of Slick Rick, either by sampling a beat, grabbing a vocal sample or referencing a line. Y’all tucked in? Here we go. –Dan Jackson