Today, Jan. 14, is the 54th birthday of legendary rapper Slick Rick, also known as "Rick the Ruler." He has long been praised for his comedic incorporation, rapping style and immersive story telling ability.

Born Richard Martin Lloyd Walters in the Mitcham section of London, England, Slick Rick ended up moving to the Bronx, NY with his family in the mid-70s.

After his rap career kicked off when he linked up famed beatboxer Doug E. Fresh in the early 80s, the Ruler would go on to drop four solo studio LPs, two of which are considered to be hip-hop classics. His 1988 debut album, The Adventures of Slick Rick, achieved platinum status, as did his last album, his 1999 release, The Art of Storytelling. Though Rick has commented on the current state of hip-hop as "diluted" in the past, he sticks around in hip-hop's memory through mentions in a variety of rap songs, including songs by Lil Wayne, Lauryn Hill, Nas and Nicki Minaj.

The Grammy-nominated British-American rapper has had to battle for not only his music, but for his freedom. He was convicted of attempted murder and weapons charges for shooting his cousin in 1991 and served five years in prison. After going back and forth with being exiled from his home country (he moved from the U.K. to the U.S. at age 11), Rick celebrated a great victory when after a 23-year protracted legal process, Slick Rick officially became a U.S. citizen in 2016.

In the 34 years since the Ruler entered the game, MC Ricky D's music itself has been sampled by some of music's biggest artists such as Montell Jordan, Mariah Carey and Beyonce.

Most recently, Rick was inducted into the Bronx Walk of Fame and made a cameo appearance in the visual for "Cops Shot the Kid," a Nas song in which producer Kanye West sampled the timeless Slick Rick smash, "Children's Story." Next month, his classic debut album, The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, is celebrating its 30th anniversary in a monumental way with a special edition collection set to be released on Feb. 22, 2019.

His contributions to hip-hop have landed him in many conversations as one of the best to ever do it. Time and time again, he's defined the phrase, "favorite rapper's favorite rapper."

Happy Birthday, Slick Rick!

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