Slick Rick Discusses Storytelling and Style for XXL’s Legends Cover Series
Every rapper has a story to tell, but none can do it quite like Slick Rick, whose rhymes and style have influenced the culture for nearly 40 years. Rick is arguably hip-hop's most superb storyteller, and has a catalog of renowned, imaginative tracks like "Mona Lisa" and "Children's Story" demonstrating his skill. As hip-hop celebrates its 50th anniversary in August, Slick Rick is honored with XXL's Legends cover. This is part of a digital series celebrating some of the most impactful artists in hip-hop’s history, which has also honored Fat Joe and Lil' Kim.
The London-born, Bronx-raised MC has come along way since he made his first song, "The Show" with Doug E. Fresh in 1985. Slick Rick spoke with XXL in New York City in late May and discussed many topics, including how his style has influenced hip-hop and how his Jamaican culture permeates his artistry.
"It taught us style, you know? My parents are Jamaican, so, we got a lot of style from Jamaicans," Rick shares. "The Clark Wallabees, the slacks, and the Kangol hats, and the gold teeth, and the jewelry, and stuff like that. So, a lot of style came from the Jamaican element, too. So, yeah, gave them their props."
Telling his fair share of stories over the years, Ricky D knows what it takes to be a compelling storyteller. "What makes a great storyteller is someone that can draw their audience in, and entertain them, and not bore them and they enjoy themselves," he adds. "And they’re willing to pay for this element at their own leisure, you know?"
Watch Slick Rick open up about his hip-hop style, what makes a great rapper, his career highlights and more in his XXL digital cover story below.