Slick Rick has had a busy 2023. The legendary lyricist received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Grammys back in February, marking his first win from the Recording Academy. Less than a month ago, Rick The Ruler also shared the Yankee Stadium stage with Doug E. Fresh and Snoop Dogg to perform a maxed-out version of his song “La Di Da Di.” Along the way, Rick appeared on DJ Muggs’ Soul Assassins 3: Death Valley album and Tony Touch’s The Def Tape this summer. On that same album, Redman and Tony Toca made an homage to Rick’s “Lick The Balls.”
While the revered storyteller’s name remains hot, it has been nearly a quarter-century since Slick Rick released an album. In 1999, the MC delivered The Art Of Storytelling. The Def Jam Records LP debuted in the Top 10, with features from OutKast, Nas, Raekwon, and Snoop Dogg and production from Trackmasters, Kid Capri, DJ Clark Kent, and Rashad Smith. However, a trustworthy source says that a new Slick Rick LP is one the way.
“This man has lived a helluva life to reach this current calm,” acclaimed photographer Jonathan Mannion wrote in the Instagram caption of photos with him and Rick. “Blessed to have received the call that the new album was on the way… a fresh new approach to tunes, now with newly created legendary photos to match. We collaborate well.” The photograph, apparently with a champagne sponsor, marked a reunion. “As I did the first time that I ever photographed the incomparable @therulernyc in 1998, I brought champagne to toast him. @moetchandon always flowing. I was also ‘knighted’ again… a renewal of vows, of sorts… with nearly every piece of his legendary gold, platinum, diamond encrusted heavy metal available weighing down my neck. Beyond honored!” Mannion wore a bulk of items from Rick’s iconic jewelry collection. The moment paid homage to a late ’90s photo with Rick that Mannion also shared.
It is unclear if a new Slick Rick album would be through Def Jam. A flagship act of the label during the 1980s, ’90s, and 2000s, LL Cool J, recently returned to the imprint for an upcoming LP titled The F.O.R.C.E., executive produced by Q-Tip. In 2018, Rick was involved in Def Jam’s release of a deluxe 30th anniversary edition of The Great Adventures Of Slick Rick that included previously unreleased music, a commemorative eye-patch, merchandise, and expanded liner notes and photographs.
The Art Of Storytelling marked Rick’s first proper release since his acclaimed 1988 solo debut, The Great Adventures Of Slick. In 1989, that release, containing hits “Children’s Story” and “Mona Lisa,” was certified platinum. In between the albums, Rick rushed to record his sophomore, The Rulers Back, ahead of a jail sentence that saw Rick incarcerated for the majority of the 1990s. In 1994, Rick delivered the aptly-titled Behind Bars midway through his sentence.
#BonusBeat: Ambrosia For Heads filmed crowd footage of Rick, Doug, and Snoop performing “La Di Da Di” last month: