Slick Rick, The Ruler Springs Eternal

Roughly once a year, Slick Rick crawls up out of his chamber to read us a raunchy bedtime story. In 2007, it was “Hip Hop Police.” In 2009, he laced us with the sand storm...
By    December 7, 2011

Roughly once a year, Slick Rick crawls up out of his chamber to read us a raunchy bedtime story. In 2007, it was “Hip Hop Police.” In 2009, he laced us with the sand storm narrative-shifts and anti-Iraq rant of Mos Def’s “The Auditorium.” Last year, he inflicted ad hoc carnage to Snoop’s “I Wanna Rock,”mocking Harry Potter fans and “soulless assholes who need to find religion.” Twenty months later, we get the DJ Premier-produced “Need Some Bad.” Cumulatively, they remind me why The Ruler is my pick for the greatest rapper of the Golden Age.

Rick’s approach to longevity almost seems modeled to attract fawning blog posts like this one. Release one great song every 16 months and avoid tarnishing your legacy with tawdry attempts to stay current or tedious trapped-in-88 flows. I’ve already run through this last year, so I’ll spare the redundancy. Like rust, swag never sleeps. So even the inventor of that worn out noun lacks the youthful burnish of his 20s. Rick is 46 years old now. He was Bar Mitzvah-aged by the time “Rapper’s Delight” dropped. In rap terms, this is antediluvian. But what he lacks in contemporary slang, he makes up for in storytelling skill. After all, with apologies to Melle Mel, Rick practically invented the modern form on “La-Di-Da-Di” and “Children’s Story.” Not to mention the POV-shifting imitative female voices that inspire contemporary luminaries likeDrake and Big Sean (Dron.)

It’s a short descent from dirty young man to dirty old man, especially when you wear an eye patch. Like “Shakey” Neil, Rick was an old head when he was young, ranting about sleazy gynecologists and the world gone to seed. “Hey Young World” is essentially the closest the Golden Age ever came to Everybody Knows This is Nowhere. But Rick has always been the priapic rap satyr, so it’s little surprise that he’s still trying to seduce the daughters of his old conquests.

You don’t need to guess what the “some” is here. He’s the graying perv complaining about going mad from lack of sex and how many times he has to “eat the chicks sushi.” He’s referencing “Rico Suave,” Samson and Delilah, and lying about how he sees kids in the mix. It’s the logical extension of “Treat Her Like a Prostitute” or “Sleazy Gynecologist.” Other than Suga Free and Danny Brown, no one does dark comic misogyny better than Uncle Ricky. Dude named himself “Uncle” when he was barely old enough to drink. And nothing says creep quite like affixing “uncle” before your name.

I suspect that the last verse loosely riffs on the plot line to The Sitter, the indie black comedy that presumably footed the bill for the Ruler’s return. It offers a tangent about walking in on a kid masturbating and talk of strip clubs, plus there are multiple Jonah Hill shout outs.  This is clearly the highlight of Hill’s career and I’d wager he knows it. Nor can I blame him for thinking so. Rick’s the ruler for a reason.

MP3: Slick Rick (prod. by DJ Premier) – “Need Some Bad”

MP3: Slick Rick-“Sleazy Gynecologist”

MP3: Slick Rick – “I Wanna Rock Freestyle”
MP3: Dynas ft. Slick Rick – “Family Jewels”
MP3: Mos Def ft. Slick Rick – “Auditorium”

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