Born in London but raised in New York, Slick Rick is an iconic figure in hip-hop. Most known for his eye-patch, heavy jewellery and outlandish outfits, the emcee (real name Richard Walters) is a must-know concerning rap music in the 1980s.
As part of the Get Fresh Crew, alongside DJs Chill Will and Barry B, Slick Rick came up under the renowned artist Doug E. Fresh. Together, they created hits, including the legendary beatbox song ‘La-Di-Da-Di’, which has influenced a multitude of songs.
The Brooklyn-raised artist is widely considered one of the greatest storytellers in hip-hop. He inspired many with his unique style and personality to think out of the box and push the boundaries with their music and fashion.
As well as ‘La-Di-Da-Di,’ Walters is also known for his 1989 single ‘Children’s Story.’ The single entered the top five of both the R’n’B and rap charts, where it stayed for over two months. Slick Rick’s impact on the culture is undeniable, and his excessive Jamaican jewellery style most definitely influenced the aesthetic of rappers moving forward.
Several legendary tracks have been influenced by Walters and his music, and many artists have paid homage to him in their music. Below are five classic hip-hop tracks that pay homage to Slick Rick.
Five hip-hop tracks that pay homage to Slick Rick:
5. ‘Super Bass’ – Nicki Minaj
Nicki Minaj is a New York native who was undoubtedly knowledgeable about Slick Rick before she became famous in the mid-2000s. ‘Super Bass’ was released as the fifth single for Minaj’s debut album, Pink Friday, and was the most successful single from her first project.
During Minaj’s verse talking about what kind of man she wants, the emcee raps, “I said, excuse me you’re a hell of a guy / I mean my, my, my, my you’re like pelican fly / I mean, you’re so shy, and I’m loving your tie / You’re like slicker than the guy with the thing on his eye,” referencing Slick Ricks eye patch.
4. ‘Touch The Sky’ – Kanye West
‘Touch The Sky’ was released as a single for Kanye West’s second album, Late Registration, in 2005 and was a hit single. The song did very well in Europe with additional vocals from Lupe Fiasco, peaking at number six on the UK Singles Charts.
Speaking about the early-1990s, in his second verse, West references the period as “When Gucci was the shit to rock / Back when Slick Rick got the shit to pop” paying homage to Walters for creating amazing commercial hits.
3. ‘Grindin’ – Clipse
This song by The Clipse is iconic for its stripped-back minimalistic beat that had school kids across America banging on the lunch tables and slamming their metal lockers. Produced by The Neptunes, the beat is sparse and made history with its slamming sound.
However, beyond its beat, the song has some interesting lyrics, one of which references Walters. delivered by Pusha T, the listeners hear the emcee raps, “I move ‘caine like a cripple / Balance weight through the hood, kids call me Mr. Sniffles / Other hand on my nickel / Plated whistle, one eye closed, I’ll hit you / As if I was Slick Rick, my aim is still an issue.” Highlighting Walters’s use of only one eye.
2. ‘Lodi Dodi’ – Snoop Dogg
This track from the iconic 1993 G-funk album Doggystyle is a tribute to Slick Rick outright, and the track’s title is a play on the song ‘La-Di-Da-Di.’ Snoop uses Walters’ cadences and lyrics in this track.
To commence the track, Snoop uses the opening line of the original and even pays tribute to the New York rhymer, rapping, “Yeah, gotta say what’s up to my nigga Slick Rick…Lodi Dodi, we likes to party / We don’t cause trouble, we don’t bother nobody.”
1. ‘Hypnotize’ – The Notorious B.I.G.
‘Hypnotize’ was produced by P Diddy and samples the 1979 song ‘Rise’ by Herb Alpert. The track was written by Andy Armer and Herb Alpert’s nephew Randy “Badazz” Alpert. The 1997 single from Life After Death not only makes use of the 1979 track but also utilises another classic.
The chorus of the track takes the melody and words of Slick Rick’s ‘La-Di-Da-Di’ in which he raps, “Ricky Ricky Ricky, can’t you see / Somehow your words just hypnotize me / And I just love your jazzy ways / So MC Rick my love is here to stay.”