July 02, 2021

Slick Rick "The Ruler's Back" (July 2, 1991)

Rapper Slick Rick recently began serving up to 10 years in prison for attempted murder. Judging from The Ruler’s Back, no trial or tribulation can cramp his lighthearted style. (And don’t let charges of sexism over his 1988 hit ”Treat Her Like a Prostitute” distract you; that song isn’t like the rest of his work.) With his raspy faux-British delivery, Rick sometimes sounds like a cool schoolteacher entertaining the kiddies before naptime. Here he delivers engaging tales about impulsive romantic mistakes (”I Shouldn’t Have Done It”), biblical figures (”Moses”), and his own responsibilities as a father (”It’s a Boy”). The only detraction: a heavy-handed beat that often competes with his vocals rather than complementing them. - EW (August 02, 1991). I cannot lie, I wasn't all the way into this album from Slick Rick - at the time - however, that Large Professor remix to "It's a Boy" was a go! The Washington Post called the album "disappointing," writing that "for some reason, Rick has adopted a high-speed rapping style that undercuts his two great strengths -- humor and storytelling grace" - and honestly, that's a fair point. Fortunately, Slick Rick rebounded and this project is but a minor stretch mark in his long and distinguished catalog dating back to the mid-80s.

Much love and respect to Slick Rick the Ruler...