Slick Rick, MC Ricky D and Rick the Ruler, is a Grammy-nominated Jamaican American British actor and musician. Born Ricky Walters January and originally from England, he moved with his family to The Bronx in 1975 where he met Dana Dane, later forming a hip hop duo as Kangol Crew.
Rick’s characteristic eyepatch was acquired after being blinded in the right eye by broken glass as an infant. He is best known for a series of rap recordings during the 1980s, including “Hey Young World”, “Children’s Story” and “La Di Da Di”, the B-side of Doug E. Fresh single “The Show” (1985).
“La Di Da Di”, “Mona Lisa” and “Children’s Story” are among his best known songs, with “La Di Da Di” being covered nearly word-for-word by Snoop Dogg on his 1993 album Doggystyle, and lines from “La Di Da Di” being borrowed by multiple high profile artists. “Children’s Story” was sampled by Montell Jordan for his 1995 hit, “This Is How We Do It”, and Everlast covered it for his album Eat at Whitey’s. Eminem also borrowed from the song extensively in his diss song “Can-I-Bitch”. “Children’s Story” was also covered with similar lyrics by the MC duo Black Star on their 1998 album, Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Black Star, as well as by Tricky on the album Nearly God, with the same name and lyrics.
On October 6th 2008, Rick was honored on the VH1 Hip Hop Honors show.
While Slick Rick remains among the most respected and popular artists in hip-hop history, he still was challenged in his life after being convicted as an accomplice in a shooting. This shocked the music world due to Rick’s positive lyrics in much of his music and longtime interests in helping youth. After serving his time and earning a release, he became a target of the U.S. Government. In June 2002, after performing on a Caribbean cruise ship, Rick was arrested by the INS as he re-entered the United States through Florida. He was told that he was being deported because he was a British citizen. This stimmed from a 1996 law calling for foreigners convicted of violent felonies to be deported, a ruling more vigorously enforced after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Rick was continuously refused bail, and after 17 months in prison he was finally released on November 7, 2003.
On May 23, 2008, New York Gov. David Paterson granted Slick Rick a full and unconditional pardon from a conviction that served as a major challenge to his career. In addition to becoming a successful businessman, he has volunteered his time to mentor youth, helping them to seek alternatives to violence.
Slick Rick has two children, Lateisha and Ricky and resides in the Bronx. WBLS is proud to welcome Slick Rick to our sold out “Yes We Can, Holiday Jam”!