On Saturday (May 25), Slick Rick’s the Art of Storytelling turns 20-years-old.
The British rapper’s fourth studio album was released in 1999. The Art of Storytelling came out after he was released from a prison stint for attempted murder charges after shooting his cousin, who attempted to extort and rob the “Children’s Story” MC. It’s considered the true follow up to Rick’s 1988 debut, The Great Adventures of Slick Rick. The Art of Storytelling featured a ton of guest appearances from artists such as Redman, Big Boi, Nas, Canibus, Q-Tip, Snoop Dogg, Raekwon, Peter Gunz, among others. Rick is known for his impeccable storytelling skills which were on full display on Storytelling.
Instead of doing a typical anniversary post, we decided to honor The Ruler by highlighting tracks by artists who have epitomized Ricks’ storytelling capabilities. Check them out below.
1.Notorious B.I.G. “I Got a Story to Tell” (Life After Death)
With his candor, wit, and humor The Notorious B.I.G. tells a story of having sex with a woman, who was dating a New York Knick NBA player that came home during the middle of Big’s rendezvous on “I Got a Story to Tell.” It appears on Biggie’s double album, Life After Death.
2. Jean Grae “My Story” (Jeanius)
Jean Grae’s “My Story” is a beautiful open letter to her mother about how the South African MC experienced getting an abortion at a young age. The heartfelt track is featured on Jean Grae’s Jeanius.
3. Trina’s “U & Me” (Diamond Princess)
On Trina’s “U &Me” the Miami rapper reflects upon a friendship gone sour, and why she and her former friend were such great home girls in the first place. It appears on Trina’s album, Diamond Princess.
4.Nas “Rewind” (Stillmatic)
Nas’ “Rewind” is appropriately titled as the Queens MC recounts a sexapade backwards. The track is easily one of Nas’ most witty songs. It appears on Nas’ Stillmatic.
5. DMX “Here We Go Again” (And Then There Was X)
On “And Then There Was X” DMX tells a story about a younger friend, who he should have killed, according to street code, but didn’t because he care about him too much. It appears on DMX’s And Then There Was X.
6. Lil Kim’s “Lil’ Drummer Boy” (Notorious K.I.M.)
On “Lil’ Drummer Boy” Lil Kim creatively tells a fictional story about appearing in court before a judge to reflect upon a time when she and her homies had a shoot out at a restaurant along with the help of Cee-Lo and Redman. It appears on Kim’s Notorious K.I.M.
7. Jay-Z “Song Cry” (The Blueprint)
On “Song Cry” Hov reflects upon a few relationships with former lovers, who wanted more from the Brooklyn rapper than he could give. The track that features singer Jaguar Wright appeared on Jay’s sixth studio album, The Blueprint.
8. J. Cole’s “Sideline Story”(Cole World: The Sideline Story)
A burgeoning J. Cole recounts his frustration with being overlooked in the industry prior to becoming pegged one of hip-hop’s best on “Sideline Story.” It appears on the North Carolina rapper’s Cole World: The Sideline Story.
9. Nas’s “Get Down” (God’s Son)
Nas’ “Get Down” tells a vividly detailed story of the East coast rapper’s experience while visiting the south and getting offered a laced blunt while visiting family, and more. The Salaam Remi-produced track appears on Nas’ God’s Son.