Slick Rick now and back then
Grammy-nominated Slick Rick, AKA Rick the Ruler, MC Ricky D and Ricky Dee, whose real name is Ricky Walters is still going strong at 50. That is after doing time in prison for a shooting, and fighting deportation as a convicted immigrant felon. In 2008 Rickey received a pardon from David A. Paterson, the governor of New York, whose grand mother was Jamaican and Marcus Garvy's secretary.
Rickey Walters is still touring and composing songs. But after all his travails, and perhaps despite them, Rickey and his wife, Mandy Aragones, have settled into a low-keyed middle class life in the same Bronx neighborhood where he, his Jamaican mother and his sister settled in 1976 when they migrated to the US from England. He lives in an apartment in one of one of two three-family houses he owns and rents out the rest.
Rickey is considered one of the the pivotal figures in hip-hop. He is known for his narrative style which can be heard in the videos below and he has been called "hip hop's greatest storyteller."
Rickey began his career in Hip-hop in the late 1983 by teaming up with Barbadian immigrant Doug E. Fresh with whom he recorded the breakout highly acclaimed hit "La Di Da Di."
He followed up as a solo artist with seminal Hip-hop hits including a "Children's Story," and "Hey Young World."
His ability to spin a tale combined with his English accent, his eye patch, Kangol cap, thick gold chains, huge medallions and custom-painted Adidas sneakers set him apart and helped to established him as the iconic Rick the Ruler and propelled him to stardom.
As a Bronx rapper, Slick Rick followed in the vain of another Bronx Jamaican Hip-hop pioneer DJ Kool Herc whose parties on Sedgwick Avenue laid the foundation for Hip-hop years earlier.
Now a Hip-hop veteran, Ricky's take on how Hip-hop, which was considered a revolutionary art form, stagnated and went astray:
“Hip-hop disrupted the order of things,” he said. “It was the pulpit, and if you put the right person in front of the pulpit, they can speak for the youth of the planet. Instead, it was altered and diluted. What you see now are performers who have been broken to fit into a mold. They are not going to disrupt the order of things.”