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 who 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”. With 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). 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. In the process, he became the most sampled (0ver 600 times) hip-hop artist ever. Many of the new songs became hit singles, underscoring his timeless influence. Ever the influence, he has been referenced in over 60 songs from the early 1990’s to present day by recording artists such as Nicki Minaj, J Cole, Pitbull, will.i.am, Amy Winehouse, Big Sean and Future. Slick Rick has also acted and cameo’d in 10 movies and videos.
Music isn’t his only passion; on top of being a uniquely gifted lyricist, Rick is an actor and music producer known his fashion sense and for a growing list of business and philanthropic endeavors. The artist is known for his infamous eye-patch and heavily adorned jewelry. This self-expression through personal style has become his signature and has never been successfully duplicated. Recognizing the need for positive influences, he has devoted his time to mentoring youth on the dangers of violence. Additionally, Rick has partnered with various organizations to raise awareness and funds for the issues impacting underserved communities.
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. One holiday season, he and his wife, Mandy, chose to spend Christmas Eve with inmates in the C-76 building at New York’s Riker’s Island prison, where he himself had been housed. Another year he teamed up with his local councilman, Andy King, to work with the Bronx Youth Empowerment Program (BYEP) to sponsor the organization’s Christmas charity event. Their sponsorship supports BYEP in challenging youth in the community to be positive and productive through the motto “Building mind, body, and community”. 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.
Rick is the owner of two rental properties in The Wakefield section of The Bronx, which he purchased in 1989 following one of his first major tours. Always a style innovator, he 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. Just this year, Rick connected with Odd Sox to release two customized socks from the company’s music collection. His designs feature iconic images of the artist from hip-hop’s golden era. 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 and has managed such artists as David Banner, Killah Priest and Rass Kass. She is also known for brokering recording deals for No Limit Records and Cash Money Records, and working 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.
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!