The impending release of Slick Ricks first album in six years called for preparation. It meant diggin in the crates and reviewing dusty cassette copies of The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, The Rulers Back and even Behind Bars. It was remedial Rick "Slick 101," if you will.
In an age when rap music outgrosses pop and country, and more rap albums are released in a year than any other form of music, a new release by one of the greatest MCs of all time should not be taken lightly. Its not just that Slick Rick puts words together well or that he has a dope voice. Its not even that he tells some of the wittiest stories on record. Its a combination of all this and then some. Hes one of the only MCs who can rightfully: "make memories sealed in almanacs," "bring that lovin feelin back to rap," "own America" and "throw that other rapper to the lions."
Quips like these make The Art of Storytelling feel as good as it sounds. The 1999 MC Ricky D is unapologetically older (34), married, mature and clever as ever. Not many MCs can get away with cramming a song about fidelity ("Two Way Street") and another about the joys of rough anal sex ("Adults Only") onto one album. But thats why fans love him, because for years hes made these extreme sides of himself seem abnormally normal. The guest rappers on the album Nas, Big Boi, Snoop Dogg, Raekwon, Canibus all sound like the students they are next to Rick. And Doug E. Freshs appearance on the albums final three songs two of which are live versions of "La Di Da Di" and "The Show" is simply kismet.
Sound the trumpets. The rulers back.
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