From the Vaults: Slick Rick, circa 98-99

In an old box, I found a bunch of old interviews I conducted. One of the tapes on the top of the pile was the infamous Slick Rick. This was a very personal interview. Beyond the glitz and glam, Slick Rick is a very down to earth cat. Here, Slick Rick talks about the loves […]

In an old box, I found a bunch of old interviews I conducted. One of the tapes on the top of the pile was the infamous Slick Rick. This was a very personal interview. Beyond the glitz and glam, Slick Rick is a very down to earth cat. Here, Slick Rick talks about the loves of his life, the first concert he went to and his passion for black and white film. The tape is undated but it is estimated that this happened in the late 90’s. This interview has never been printed- until now. What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

Slick Rick: I would say owning two or three family houses. Who or what is the greatest love of your life?

Slick Rick: My children, Ricky and Lateesha. What is your greatest fear?

Slick Rick: I guess…I guess the same fear everybody else got- I don’t wanna go to hell. [laughs] What do you regard as your lowest depth of misery?

Slick Rick: Going to jail. If you could chose the way you die, how do you wanna go out?

Slick Rick: In my sleep. If you found out that reincarnation was real what would you wanna come back as?

Slick Rick: Somebody holding a position in politics. If you could meet 3 people in history…Famous or not famous who would they be.

Slick Rick: Jesus, Solomon, then between Moses and Abraham. They both got juice. The men who got to speak to God and see the n***a! I know they got mad interesting stories. When was the last time you cried?

Slick Rick: [laughs] The last time I cried, I don’t know… It’s been that long?

Slick Rick: I mean, I have my heartaches and stuff. But I try not to. I don’t want nobody seeing me and s**t. when was the last time you really laughed?

Slick Rick: When I saw Austin Powers, that was funny. [Mike Myers] is funny. What’s one thing you wish that was true that isn’t?

Slick Rick: I wish I could see outta two eyes. But then again, it did help my career a little bit [laughs]. If you could only teach your kids one things, what would it be?

Slick Rick: I would teach them to believe in Jesus Christ. Who was your first love and where did you meet?

Slick Rick: When I was in England, I had a girlfriend named Debbie Twiggs . I was only a kid. She was my first love. I was only about seven or eight. We went to the same school. What is your biggest addiction? From cocaine to candy bars, whatever.

Slick Rick: I love eggs fried over medium. With a little bit of runny in the yolk?

Slick Rick: Just a little runny in the orange part, and a tad bit crispy. What were you most afraid of as a child?

Slick Rick: Mice. What was the first concert you went to…Not the first Rap concert, but concert period.

Slick Rick: Cold Crush Brothers, at a school lot. I was about 13-14. What was the best concert you ever went to, but were not a part of?

Slick Rick: I never really went to any concerts that I wasn’t in. That’s kinda weird- but I guess it keeps you safe. When did you first find out that cats were trying to out of the country?

Slick Rick: 1993. What’s the status on that?

Slick Rick: It’s still up in the air. I’m not on safe ground. Do you think they are checking for you because you’re a rapper. Or is that of no consequence?

Slick Rick: I think it’s of no consequence. You have to go through certain channels. Just like you put a piece of cheese in a rat cage. You commit a felony, it does not matter who you are, you could be deported. When will you know?

Slick Rick: I guess when I feel those handcuffs. [hard laughter] Where would you go if you got the boot? Back to England?

Slick Rick: I never really thought about it like that. Wherever it was, they’d have to be English speaking. I know you have been asked this before but what was the general reaction when other inmates saw you? Were you easily noticed?

Slick Rick: Yeah, because of the patch. So did they try to get with you ’cause you had hella scrill?

Slick Rick: Yeah, I had my share of that. But it could have been a lot worse. Were you sharing a cell or were you solo?

Slick Rick: My area was like a dorm, like 50-80 cats. Did you lose a creative part of yourself in prison?

Slick Rick: I wouldn’t say that. I’d say it preserved it. Do you see yourself, as a super MC pioneer? I see you as that. But how do you see yourself?

Slick Rick: I see a person that’s trying to stay grounded. I think that’s why people like me. I’m not trying to stand out like a super hero. But do you see yourself as a pioneer?

Slick Rick: Well, I never really looked at it like that. I was trying to be like them. But I guess that was so long ago, nobody wanna look past that. Like “No, you started this s**t, n***a.” [laughs] Do you feel old in the game?

Slick Rick: No, when I look at my age I do. But I don’t feel old. How old are you, for the record?

Slick Rick: 34. But I don’t feel it. I don’t feel that old age s**t. What’s the most shocking thing you’ve seen in the Rap world that you thought would have never happened?

Slick Rick: The amount of money that rappers get now. When I was growing up, if you had a nice house or a car, you was the s**t. Nobody thought about having more money than you could ever spend. At what point after you came out, did you feel like a star?

Slick Rick: I started getting asked for autographs .One time me, LL, Kane and De La Soul had a show. We got back to the hotel, and people were rushing us screaming and s**t, like we were the Beatles. That was a good moment. What do you think is one of the big assumptions that people make about you that is not true?

Slick Rick: People think that I’m conceited, and I’m not a nice person. What is your favorite Slick Rick song.

Slick Rick: “Children’s Story.” Do you remember where you were when you wrote certain rhymes? Where were you when you wrote that?

Slick Rick: I used to be a mail clerk. After you did your stuff, you had some free time. I think I wrote it on one of those breaks. I was never a rah-rah person. I never sold drugs or did anything crazy. A lot of people in my age group, or the people that was considered cool and dangerous, they were the people that did that. I just wrote it from my point of view. I was into getting a job. What were some of the jobs you had before you made it?

Slick Rick: I was a mail clerk for Nieman Bros. I was a law clerk. How many rap groups were you in before Doug E. Fresh?

Slick Rick: I was in a crew called the Kangol Crew. We weren’t a real crew. We wore blazers and Kangols that matched. Like green, purple, yellow – little stuff to make ourselves known. Only me and [Dana Dane] tried to do it. I met Doug E at a battle. He liked what he heard, and he wanted to do a songs together, like “La Di-Da Di.” So, we would go do songs together on the corner, and people would sell it. He figured we should make a record out of it and we put “The Show” on the other side. What do you listen to when you are not listening to Hip-Hop?

Slick Rick: I like old school Reggae, like the Heptones [and] Dennis Brown. Most folks would not know these people. Who is a person you met through Hip-Hop that you never thought you’d meet?

Slick Rick: I met Malcolm Forbes, before he died at a party in L.A. I met Dennis Hopper at the same party. What kind of movies do you like to watch?

Slick Rick: I like the black and white movies on AMC. Those films were more rich. They were trying to draw you into the scene. They wanted to make you believe the scene. Now they want you to be attracted to the actor, like Mel Gibson or Julia Roberts. What did you think of American History X ?

Slick Rick: That was underrated, but it was a good movie. I think it was too real. But cats don’t wanna see that. They wanna forget.

Slick Rick: But that’s what we need to see: the real. We need realism to deal with reality. How come you have never done any flicks?

Slick Rick: I’m not a good actor. At least you can admit that, rather than force it and then it not work out.

Slick Rick: I could do it if there was leeway in the script. But if I gotta be like Will Smith and remember them hard ass lines like in Six Degrees of Separation, I just can’s see it.

Adisa Banjoko is author of the highly controversial book “Lyrical Swords Vol 1: Hip Hop and Politics in the Mix”. Buy one now at