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Behind Bars

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Album Review

Within hip-hop, Slick Rick is arguably the most acclaimed MC of them all. Snoop Doggy Dogg, for one, owes a huge debt to his detached, effortless delivery on the microphone. At his best, Slick Rick was always coolness personified. The London-born artist's troubles, however, have been well-documented. They are further addressed by the man himself on the title track to this recording, completed during a work release program with the help of veteran hip-hop producer Prince Paul (Rick was in jail for the 1990 shooting of an innocent bystander while attempting to chase down a bodyguard). Before Ol' Dirty Bastard cornered the market, Slick Rick was rap's bad boy-in-chief. On this uneven record, he pays witness to the events that shaped him, rather than detailing his current incarceration. Regardless, there are times when the listener might wish for a more reflective and less violently female-baiting narrator; absolution and regret aren't particularly high on his agenda when he proclaims "bitches ain't no good."


Born: 14 January 1965 in London, England

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Slick Rick foreshadowed and epitomized the pimpster attitude of many rappers during the late '80s and early '90s, with gold chains, his trademark eye-patch, and recordings that were no less misogynistic -- "Treat Her Like a Prostitute," for example, became an underground hit in 1988, though it was justly criticized for its view of women. His 1989 album, The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, was a certified-platinum classic, but before he could record a follow-up, Slick Rick was arrested for attempted...
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