Monthly Archives: July 2013
Real Name: Michael Deering
In Jamaica Queens, you didn’t have to travel far to seek out a block party, house party or park jam where up and coming MC’s would go and display their skills on the microphone.
Back then you had Mr. Cheeks, LL Cool J, Q-Tip, Biz Markie and other great MC’s that rocked crowds on a regular basis;
There was another MC that shined as well – Mikey D.
At an early age, Mikey started out on the park jam circuit with the Clientele Brothers.
[MC’s] Will Seville, Eddie O’ Jay along with Mean Gene were considered among the best at displaying real rhyme skills as a group similar to the Cold Crush Brothers and The Force MC’s (later renamed The Force MD’s).
As a group, the Clientele Brothers were looking for the next hot MC – enter Playboy Mikey D.
With Mikey, the group had the last ingredient and they definitely took the Queens park jam scene to the next level.
As Hip Hop phenomena grew in the mid 1980’s, the time came for the elusive record deal.
In 1985, Mikey D along with the Symbolic Three signed to Reality Records.
With Producers Ray (Professor KB) Romaine, Dr. Rhythm and Dr. Shock, songs like “No Show” (the answer to Doug E Fresh and Slick Rick’s “The Show”), along with “Treacherous” took underground radio by surprise.
In 1986, Mikey D (and DJ Johnnie Quest) signed with Public Records and put out classics Like “Dawn”, “My Telephone”, and “Bust A Rhyme”.
In 1988, Mikey’s career really got hot when he signed to Sleeping Bag Records.
The record company was so enthused by the Queens battle legend’s reputation; they entered him into the New Music Seminar (Battle for World Supremacy).
After battling several known and unknown rappers round by round – he faced Grand Master Melle Mel of the Furious Five.
In front of stunned fans and industry insiders, Mikey D defeated the veteran MC and was proclaimed the best MC in the world (as he predicted in 1987’s ‘I Get Rough’).
Later that year, he released “Out Of Control” and the wicked “Comin’ In The House”.
After taking some time off – In 1994 Mikey D was enlisted by the groundbreaking Main Source to replace their lead MC Large Professor.
Mikey (along with K-Cut and Sir Scratch) hit the studio and recorded the sequel to “Breaking Atoms” entitled “F*ck What You Think”.
Although another historic album was birthed, it was not released due to infighting between the record label and group management.
After all of the chaos he had been through, the legendary rapper took a step back from the music he loved so much to focus on family, self and other matters.
Although Mikey D has been incognito for a while, he has never stopped perfecting his craft.
He can always be found droppin’ a hot verse (in a cipher or recording studio), working with up and coming rappers and most of all – focusing on the future.
There is one thing you can count on; true lyrical skills are coming back courtesy of the UNDERGROUND, PARK JAM and HIP HOP LEGEND.
- Baby D (D’Bora)
- RD Smiley
- DJ LaSpank
- Sweet P
They were the sister group to Grandwizard Theodore and the L Brothers.
They shared the same manager Trevor.
Baby D was taught to scratch by Grandwizard Theodore.
She later went on to released the track “No Sense”.
They were featured on Donald D’s recording “Don’s Groove” in the early 1980′s.
Although they never had their own record deal and are rarely mentioned, they paved the way for many females to follow.
Sweet P and Sty-Sty were later members.
On May 3, 2000, The Mercedes Ladies were presented with the Hip-Hop Heritage Award from ICAST.com.
They are known for the single Disco Dream, released as a 12″ 33 RPM single in 1981 on the Sugar Hill Records label.
In 1986, they recorded a single called “At The Party” on the Honey Hush label.
The group is often cited as the first bilingual rap group, and is possibly the first ever Latino rap group.
DJ Julio (Steven Santiago)
Jimmy Mac (James McLean)
Mr. Nice (Jose Semprit)
Mr. Schick (Daniel Rivera Jr.)
Butch Kid (Roman Barksdale)
Cool Cliff (Clifford Santiago)
Cool Cliff (Clifford Santiago) was the first child rapper and paved the way for others. RIP Little brother.
The best description of the group is one written (at least partially) by a former group member.
The Mean Machine went through a few members in the late 70s, before settling to the final four members at the end of 1979. About a year and a half later, they were knocking on the doors of Sugar Hill Records and auditioning for Sylvia Robinson and her crew. They rapped in both English and in Spanish making them one of the first bilingual rap groups around. Sylvia loved the idea of making a bilingual rap record and released their first single “Disco Dream” in the summer of 1981. Some of D.J.Julio’s lyrics used on the track were actually borrowed from Son of Sam of the Harlem World Crew with his permission. Hispanics all over the country went crazy over the group when they heard Spanish rap for the first time. This of course lead to the opening of doors to Latin America. The group was shelved by Sugar Hill following a radio interview they did with Frankie Crocker at New York’s WBLS. One of the members said something about the label that didn’t sit well. Later the group went on to record some songs under the Honey Hush Label. Jimmy Mac Died and so did Cool Cliff may they rest in peace. We also had another person join the group after the recording of Disco Dream who went by the name of Butch Kid. D.J. Julio is now living in Florida, And Mr.Schick is living in South Carolina. Butch Kid lives in Brooklyn N.Y.
He has also been known as Rick the Ruler.
He began his career in late 1983, in the hip hop genre, where he recorded a series of acclaimed recordings such as “La Di Da Di” and “Children’s Story“.
He is known for the use of narrative in his raps and has been called “hip hop’s greatest storyteller“.
Slick Rick rose to stardom in an era known to fans as the Golden age of hip hop.
His music has been frequently sampled and interpolated by other artists such as TLC, Black Star, The Notorious B.I.G., Snoop Dogg, and Color Me Badd, with many of these songs later becoming hit singles.
About.com ranked him #12 on their list of the Top 50 MCs of Our Time, while The Source ranked him #15 on their list of the Top 50 Lyricists of All Time.
In the south-west London district of Mitcham, Walters was born and raised, but then he later moved with his British Jamaican family to The Bronx in 1977 where he met Dana Dane with whom he later formed a hip hop duo known as the Kangol Crew.
Walters received his characteristic eye patch after being blinded in the right eye by broken glass as an infant.
Once he gained a degree of wealth, Walters earned a reputation for wearing a significant amount of gold and diamond jewelry.
He first gained success in the rap industry by joining Doug E. Fresh’s Get Fresh Crew, using the stage name MC Ricky D.
He was featured on the single “The Show” and its popular B-side “La Di Da Di“.
La Di Da Di featured Walters’ rapping over Doug E. Fresh’s beatbox.
Both tracks gained some mainstream attention.
In 1988 Walters’ solo debut The Great Adventures of Slick Rick came out on Def Jam Records.
The album was very successful, reaching the #1 spot on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop chart.
It also featured three charting singles: “Children’s Story“, “Hey Young World“, and “Teenage Love“. These are now some of Walters’ best known songs.
In 1990, Walters shot a bystander and his cousin whom he had hired as a bodyguard and who later admitted to having Walters shot outside a club.
Walters was indicted on two counts of attempted murder and pled guilty to all charges, which included assault, use of a firearm, and criminal possession of a weapon.
He spent five years in prison, two for the second degree attempted murder charges he received for the shooting, and three for his struggle with the Immigration and Naturalization Services over his residency in the US.
He was bailed out by Russell Simmons, head of Def Jam Records.
After being bailed out Walters recorded his second album, The Ruler’s Back.
The album got mixed reviews and wasn’t as commercially successful as his debut.
In the documentary film, The Show, Russell Simmons interviews Walters while he was imprisoned on Rikers Island.
Walters’ third studio album Behind Bars was released while he was still incarcerated.
It was met with lukewarm sales and reviews.
After being released from prison in 1996, Walters remained with the Def Jam label and on May 25, 1999, released a fourth album entitled The Art of Storytelling.
Generally considered the authentic follow up to his 1988 debut, The Art of Storytelling was an artistically successful comeback album that paired him with prolific MCs like Nas, OutKast, Raekwon, and Snoop Dogg among others.
On October 6, 2008, Rick was honoured on the VH1 Hip Hop Honors show.
“La Di Da Di“, “Mona Lisa” and “Children’s Story” are among Walters most well known songs, with “La Di Da Di” being covered nearly word-for-word by Snoop Dogg on his 1993 album Doggystyle.
Lines from “La Di Da Di” were borrowed by other multiple high profile artists.
Rapper Eminem also borrowed from the song extensively in his diss track “Can-I-Bitch“.
“Children’s Story” was covered with similar lyrics by the MC duo Black Star on their 1998 album Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Black Star, as well as by Tricky on the album Nearly God.
It was also paid tribute to by A Tribe Called Quest on their song “8 Million Stories“.
With a similar backing and very similar lyrics, rapper The Game also made a similar song which was named “Compton Story“.
“Compton Story” was on the Mixtape BWS Radio 5 made in 2008.
The chorus of Notorious B.I.G.‘s song “Hypnotize” is also derived from “La Di Da Di“.
The opening track on Jay-Z’s Blueprint album is also a cover of Slick Rick’s “The Rulers Back” and borrows heavily from the original lyrics.
The Israeli Rapper Sagol 59 Made a Hebrew version of the song “Children’s Story” on his album “The Two Sides of Sagol 59“.
Slick Rick and the Soul Rebels Brass Band collaborated on June 21, 2012 in Washington, D.C. at the historic Howard Theatre which re-opened in April 2012.
Slick Rick’s style is commended by music critics.
Music journalist Peter Shapiro says,
‘Children’s Story’ was important because of its narrative structure and Rick’s understanding of how crucial little sonic details—such as his use of a female voice and his yawning rap—were to hip hop style.
He is largely known for his story raps, such as ‘Children’s Story’ and ‘La Di Da Di‘.
Shapiro writes that he
largely introduced the art of narrative into hip hop… none of the spinners of picaresque rhymes who followed did it with the same grace or humor.
All music states that he has the “reputation as hip hop’s greatest storyteller”.
In the book Check the Technique, Slick Rick says,
I was never the type to say freestyle raps, I usually tell a story, and to do that well I’ve always had to work things out beforehand.
Kool Moe Dee comments,
Slick Rick raised the lost art of hip hop storytelling to a level never seen again.
Devin the Dude notes that Slick Rick’s ‘Indian Girl’ is a good example of the type of humor that existed in hip hop’s golden era,and Peter Shapiro says that “he was funnier than Rudy Ray Moore or Redd Foxx.”
Slick Rick uses very clear enunciation and raps with the “Queen’s English”.
The Great Adventures of Slick Rick is one of the greatest albums ever… the stuff he was just saying on there, it was so clear… the [clear] syllable dude was Slick Rick for me”.
He is also renowned for his unique “smooth, British-tinged flow”which contains distinct structures.
In the book How to Rap, it is noted that on the song ‘I Own America’, he
puts a rest on almost every other 1 beat so that each set of two lines begins with a rest.
Kool Moe Dee stated that,
Rick accomplished being totally original at a time when most MCs were using very similar cadences.
He has what is described as “singsong cadences”;Andy Cat of Ugly Duckling mentions that Slick Rick uses a melodic delivery on the track ‘Hey Young World’.
Slick Rick is also known to extensively usepunch ins, especially in his story rhymes as different characters;
Kool Moe Dee says Rick used “multi-voices to portray multiple characters”.
Rumours suggested that Walters planned to release a new album, “The Adventure Continues“, in 2007.
However, in a recent XXL Magazine interview, he denied the claim.
Rick is supposedly “waiting for a market to open up for a mature audience“.
He was promptly told that he was being deported under a law allowing deportation of foreigners convicted of felonies.
Rick was continuously refused bail, but after 17 months in prison he was released on November 7, 2003.
In October 2006, the Department of Homeland Security began a new attempt to deport Walters, moving the case from the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit based in New York to the more conservative Eleventh Circuit.
The court is based in Atlanta, Georgia but the trial was expected to proceed in Florida, where immigration agents originally arrested Walters.
On May 23, 2008, New York Governor David Paterson granted Slick Rick a full and unconditional pardon on the attempted murder charges.
The governor was pleased with his behavior since the mishap.
Slick Rick has volunteered his time to mentor kids about violence.