Today in Hip Hop History: May 25, 1999
Slick Rick dropped his fourth and last studio album The Art of Storytelling, 17 years ago to this day. With the help of Def Jam Recordings and a ton of heavy-hitting features, it’s no surprise that Rick would produce an instant classic with the likes of Snoop Dogg, Nas, and Doug E. Fresh to play a part.
The artist rose to fame after being found during a talent showcase in 1985 by Doug E. Fresh. A year later, Russell Simmons brought him under his management and was subsequently signed to Def Jam Recordings. Rick would go on to release his solo debut The Great Adventures of Slick Rick and reach the number one spot on Billboard’s R&B/Hip Hop chart of 1988. From the fame, it was understandable at the time to get a bodyguard. Slick Rick would go on to hire his cousin, Mark Plummer, which would turn to his demise. Erratic, toxic, and greedy, Plummer would continuously attempt to extort money from Rick. Even after being let go with severance, Plummer would continue to threaten Rick, leading him to a gun purchase after finding bullet holes through his front door.
Rick was incarcerated for five years after attempted murder charges, and during his time in prison he would make two more albums, The Ruler’s Back and Behind Bars. Both were met with mixed reviews and lack of commercial success despite being placed on Billboard’s charts. Once Slick Rick was released, it was The Art of Storytelling that propelled him back to where he once was. The Hip Hop community that we know today as greats like Raekwon, Redman, and others, all helped him back into society.
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