• Black Music Honors

Slick Rick

Ricky Martin Lloyd Walters, better known to the world as “Slick Rick”, is a Grammy-nominated, English-born performer, and the most successful British-American rapper in music history. He is known as Hip-Hop’s Greatest Storyteller. Originally from London, the hip-hop veteran began his career in 1983 as a member of Doug E. Fresh’s Get Fresh Crew, pioneering what is referred to as the “Golden Age of Hip- Hop”. He has four albums to his credit – the landmark The Great Adventures of Slick Rick (1988), The Ruler’s Back (1991), Behind Bars (1994) and The Art of Storytelling (1999). His iconic cautionary tale “Children’s Story, “released in 1988 as a single, was finally transformed into a cartoon book for kids in April 2017, by Traffic Entertainment.
Rick has collaborated with a range of musical icons, from Jay-Z and Missy Elliot to Outkast, Jermaine Dupri, Mos Def Common, R. Kelly and Aaliyah. His music has been sampled and interpolated over 650 times, by such artists as Eminem, Mariah Carey, Beyonce, Beastie Boys, TLC, Nas, Miley Cyrus, Kanye West, Black Star, The Notorious B.I.G., Snoop Dogg and Color Me Badd, making him the most sampled hip-hop artist ever. Many of the new songs became hit singles. Underscoring his timeless influence, The Ruler was awarded on behalf of New York’s #1 radio station Hot 97’s Icon Award on June 8, 2017 – the first-ever Global Hip Hop Day – for his passionate dedication to the past, present and future of hip-hop music.
Ever the influence, Rick has been referenced in over 60 songs, from the early 1990s to present day, by recording artists such as Nicki Minaj, J Cole, Pitbull, will.i.am, Amy Winehouse, Lil Wayne, Big Sean and Future. Slick Rick has also acted and appeared in ten movies and videos.Music isn’t Rick’s only passion. In addition to being a uniquely gifted lyricist, he is an actor and music producer known his fashion sense and growing list of business and philanthropic endeavors. Rick has partnered with various organizations to raise awareness and funds for various issues impacting underserved communities. He devotes time to mentoring youth, providing counsel on the dangers of street violence.
Business Ventures
Rick is the owner of two rental properties in The Wakefield section of The Bronx, purchased in 1989 following one of his first major tours. Known as a style innovator and for self-expression through personal style – his infamous eye-patch and being heavily adorned with jewelry – Rick most recently struck a deal with Odd Sox Apparel to be featured on three of the company’s special music collection knit socks. He also partnered with producer/entrepreneur will.i.am to create a limited edition ill.i Optics capsule collection of sunglasses, for the brand’s Spring/Summer 2015 collection. That same year, he joined forces with custom-apparel platform Teespring to produce a limited edition white tee featuring representations of Rick’s best-known gold and diamond chains. Additionally, he teamed up with Lyric Culture for a limited-release women’s tank top sporting the lyrics to “La-di-da-di.”Rick’s voice reads the audio book version of How To Get A Record Deal: The Knowledge To Succeed by Wendy Day, a music-industry veteran who founded Rap Coalition, managed artists such as David Banner, Killah Priest and Rass Kass, and brokered recording deals for No Limit Records and Cash Money Records, and worked with Tupac Shakur, Eminem, Young Buck, Twista and others, including Rick himself, as an advisor. Always seeking new ways to extend his one-of-a-kind brand, Rick’s next moves are in voice animated content and fashion, design a custom sneaker/shoe line.
Philanthropic Efforts
Celebrating more than three decades as a performer, Rick continues to give to his community and culture. He regularly visits schools and prisons, mentoring and providing life lessons to young people. In 2015, Rick, his team and his wife, Mandy, spent Christmas Eve with inmates in the C-76 building at New York’s Riker’s Island prison, where he himself was once housed. Another year he teamed up with his local councilman Andy King, to work with the Bronx Youth Empowerment Program (BYEP), sponsoring the organization’s Christmas charity event. BYEP is challenging youth in the community to be positive and productive through the motto “Building mind, body, and community”. Rick and his family have also worked with the Brownsville Family Shelter and various other non-profit organizations. After engaging and encouraging students in one Newark, NJ grade school for an entire day he remarked, “It felt great to share what I am passionate about – music and poetry.” In 2014, Rick participated in Will.i.am’s“Trans4M” concert, which raised more than $2.4 million for the music producer’s i.am.angel Foundation. In 2015, the Alpha Gamma Lambda chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity honored him at its “Living The Dream Luncheon,” which celebrates “leaders that, despite facing adversity, have continued to dedicate their time and resources to better their communities.”
At his 50th birthday celebration, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz honored Rick with a proclamation for his contributions to Bronx history. Diaz also declared January 9th as Slick Rick Day. Recently, Rick donated a dozen items from his iconic wardrobe collection to The Smithsonian Foundation’s National Museum of African-American History. For his efforts Rick has received accolades from Miami Dade College, the Florida House of Representative, The State of Arkansas, New York City Council and Music Saves Lives. In addition, Rick was recently a Mixx Cares Humanitarian Award Recipient. “His musical career is an example of hard work and perseverance that is to be admired and celebrated. We also recognize his philanthropic endeavors which have allowed him to remain in touch with the youth of the community and help them flourish in life and academics”, says Latin Mixx Awards Committee.
Immigration Battle and “Coming Home”
Despite all of his considerable accolades and accomplishments,“Hip-Hop’s Greatest Storyteller”was unable to travel or perform outside of the United States for most of his iconic career. A turbulent, two-decade-plus immigration battle ended in April 2016, when he became a naturalized US Citizen. Maintaining dual citizenship with Great Britain, he celebrated the milestone in November 2016, performing sold-out shows in Manchester, Bristol, London, Birmingham, and Brighton in the United Kingdom. The “Coming Home” tour also hit nearby Dublin, Ireland and Paris, France. Live Nation UK streamed the London show worldwide. With more than three decades in the world of music, this legacy artist is still striving, still working, still giving back to his community – and still ruling!