Slick Rick the Ruler

Real Name: Richard Walters
D.O.B.: 14th January 1965, South Wimbledon, London UK.

Label: Def Jam Recordings

Slick Rick or MC Ricky D or Rick the Ruler came originally from South Wimbledon in London, England. He moved with his family to The Bronx in 1975 where he met B-Weezy who taught him how to rap. Rick's characteristic eye patch was acquired after being blinded in the right eye by broken glass as an infant. He is best known for a series of rap recordings during the 1980s, including "Children's Story" and "La Di Da Di". Once he gained a degree of wealth, he earned a reputation for wearing an enormous amount of gold and diamond jewellery, including many large necklaces with giant pendants, bracelets, huge rings on each finger, and a gold tooth.

"La Di Da Di", "Mona Lisa" and "Children's Story" are among his best known songs, with "La Di Da Di" being covered nearly word-for-word by Snoop Dogg on his 1993 album Doggystyle, and lines from "La Di Da Di" being borrowed by multiple high profile artists. "Children's Story" was sampled by Montell Jordan for his 1995 hit, "This Is How We Do It", Black Star did a cover of it on their début album, and Everlast covered it for his album Eat at Whitey's. Eminem also borrowed from the song extensively in his diss song "Can-I-Bitch".

The Career

The Great Adventures of Slick Rick became the first studio album for Rick, released in 1988. While his distinctive delivery and humorous tone earned him many fans, making this album one of the most popular albums from the golden age of East Coast rap, his vulgarity and misogyny (such as on "Treat Her Like a Prostitute") also earned him many detractors. The album is among the few to receive a perfect five mic score from The Source magazine. In 1998, the album was selected as one of The Source Magazine's 100 Best Rap Albums. It topped Billboard's Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart, and peaked at #31 on the Billboard 200. The song "Children's Story"is also featured in the soundtrack for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

As Slick Rick is often considered by many to be the greatest storyteller in hip-hop history, his début album acts for the most part as a showcase of his apparent storytelling aptitude. Throughout the album, Slick Rick plays two characters- Slick Rick The Ruler and Emcee Ricky D. Within the context of these chronicled accounts, a variety of subjects are addressed; many of which inject at least some amount of humour, whether it be overtly obvious or not. Though the album is known for its use of seemingly irreverent humour, it is quite interesting to note that perhaps the most famous song on the album, "Children's Story" is a tragic tale that can be interpreted as an implicit condemnation of violence and greed. Sex is the focus of two of the offerings on the album, "Treat Her Like A Prostitute" and "Indian Girl (An Adult Story)". The former was probably the most controversial for being what seemed at the time to be nothing more than a misogynistic take on women. Some however, see it simply as a statement that one should not rush into relationships without knowing what they're getting into. Similarly, "Indian Girl" is seen by some as a statement in support of safe sex, as the story ends with male character discovering that the female he rushed into bed with, the Indian girl, has crabs. It is also seen by some as a tale of divine retribution, as it can be interpreted that he raped her. Tracks such as "The Ruler's Back" and "Let's Get Crazy" stray from the path of chronological documentation to give way to party jams; and "Teenage Love" is a heartfelt ode to just exactly what its title suggests. Overall, it is an album combining the non-combative arrogance of a young rapper with his more human side to create arguably one of the greatest albums hip-hop has ever seen.

The Great Adventures Of Slick Rick is well known for having its songs heavily sampled by artists and is often paralleled with Paid in Full as one of the most sampled hip-hop albums of all time. Classic singles such as KRS-One's "Outta Here" and O.C.'s 'Time's Up' have used snippets for hooks. It is also an album that has been quoted by many rappers, most notably the aforementioned "Children's Story".

In 1991, Slick Rick shot a bystander and his cousin whom he’d hired as a body guard and who later admitted to having Walters shot outside a club. Slick Rick was indicted on 2 counts of attempted murder and plead guilty to all charges which also included, assault, use of a firearm, and criminal possession of a weapon. Russell Simmons, head of Def Jam records, bailed him out and Rick quickly recorded The Ruler's Back before spending five years in prison, two for the second degree attempted murder charges he received for that shooting, and three while hassling with Immigrations Services over his residency in the US. In the documentary film, The Show, Russell Simmons interviews Rick while he was a prisoner on Rikers Island.

A third album Behind Bars was recorded whilst still in prison, and released to lukewarm sales and reviews. Released from prison in 1998, he remained with Def Jam and on May 25, 1999 released a fourth album, entitled The Art of Storytelling, generally considered the authentic follow up to his 1988 début. Storytelling was also an artistically successful comeback that paired him with MC's like Nas, OutKast, Raekwon and Snoop Dogg, among others.

In June 2002, after performing on a Caribbean cruise ship, Rick was arrested by the INS as he re-entered the United States through Florida. He was promptly told that he was being deported because he is a British citizen; since he had been born in London and moved to the States as a youth. In 1996, a law was passed which called for foreigners convicted of violent felonies to be deported, a ruling which was more vigorously enforced amid heightened security concerns after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Rick was continuously refused bail, but after 17 months in prison he was released on November 7, 2003.

Rumours suggested that Rick 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 [more] mature audience".

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 is expected to proceed in Florida, where INS agents originally arrested Walters.

He has two children, Lateisha and Ricky from two different mothers. He currently resides in the Bronx and lives with his son Ricky.


  • 1988 The Great Adventures of Slick Rick (Chart position: #1) RIAA Certification: Platinum
  • 1991 The Ruler's Back (Chart position: #18) RIAA Certification:
  • 1994 Behind Bars (Chart position: #11) RIAA Certification:
  • 1999 The Art of Storytelling (Chart position: #1) RIAA Certification: Gold