At 59 years old, Slick Rick has this physical status:
Richard Martin Lloyd Walters (born January 14, 1965), better known as Slick Rick, is a British rapper and record producer who was raised in The Bronx, New York. Slick Rick's four albums include: The Great Adventures of Slick Rick (1988), The Ruler's Back (1991), Behind Bars (1994), and Storytelling (1999).
In over 35 songs by musicians including Eminem, Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, the Beastie Boys, TLC, Nas, Miley Cyrus, Kanye West, The Notorious B.I.G., Montell Jordan, and Color Me Badd, his music has been sampled and interpolated over 600 times.
Walters has developed into one of the most sampled hip-hop artists ever.
Many of these songs, which were based on Slick Rick samples, went on to become hit singles. Slick Rick has been named No. 1 on the VH-1 Hip Hop Honors, and About.com ranked him No. 10. On their list of the Top 50 MCs of Our Time, 12 were ranked No. 12 by The Source, while the Source ranked him No. 12. On their list of the Top 50 Lyricists of All Time, 15th on their list.
In ten films and videos, he has appeared and cameo-ed.
Walters was born on 1 Brad Gibson street in Mitcham, southwest London's southwest London suburb. As an infant, he was blinded in the right eye by a cracked glass. He and his family immigrated to the United States in 1976, settling in the Baychester neighborhood of the Bronx. Rick Dana Dane, who majored in visual art, met Dana Dane at Fiorello High School of Music & Art. The pair became close friends and formed the Kangol Crew, which included participation in school games, parks, and small local clubs.
Rick was introduced to Doug E. Freshman at a 1984 talent showcase. Doug made Rick's talent work for him as part of his Get Fresh Crew (which also included DJs Chill Will and Barry Bee). "The Show"/"La Di Da Di" became the launching pad for "Hip Hop's greatest storyteller" thanks to Doug's beatbox and Rick's fresh flow.
His career began in 1985; Walters first gained success in the rap industry after joining Doug E. Fresh's Get Fresh Crew, using the stage name MC Ricky D. He was featured on the single "The Show" and its even more popular B-side, "La Di Da Di", which featured Walters' rapping over Doug E. Fresh's beatbox. Both tracks gained some mainstream attention, they appeared on Top of the Pops and Soul Train with the Get Fresh Crew. Reflecting on the single in Rolling Stone magazine, Roots drummer and Tonight Show bandleader Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson said, "Point blank: Slick Rick's voice was the most beautiful thing to happen to hip-hop culture [...] Rick is full of punchlines, wit, melody, cool cadence, confidence and style. He is the blueprint."
In 1986, Slick Rick joined Russell Simmons's Rush Artist Management and became the third artist signed to Def Jam Records, the leading rap/hip-hop label at the time. Collaborating with his friend, DJ Vance Wright, Walters produced his solo debut, The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, which came out in 1988 on Def Jam. The album was very successful, reaching the No. 1 spot on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop chart. It also featured three charting singles: "Children's Story", "Hey Young World", and "Teenage Love". The release is known for its storytelling and vocal characterizations. "With the combination of Rick's Dick Van Dyke-on-dope accent and his unique narrative style, the record was an instant classic," wrote critic Matt Weiner. "Each of Rick's songs was an amusing, enthralling story that lasted from the first groove to the last."
In 1989, Walters' mother, Veronica, hired his first cousin, Mark Plummer, as his bodyguard. By 1990, Plummer had become a liability, having tried numerous times to extort money from the artist. Plummer was fired and, unsatisfied with his severance package, tried to rob Walters on numerous occasions and also threatened to kill the rapper and his mother. When Walters found bullet holes in his front door, he bought guns for protection. On July 3, 1990, Walters spotted Plummer in his neighborhood, and fired at least four shots. One bullet hit Plummer; another caught a passerby in the foot. Neither suffered life-threatening injuries.
He eventually pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted murder and other charges, including assault, use of a firearm, and criminal possession of a weapon. The rapper called it an act of self-defense. He spent five years in prison, two for the then-second-degree attempted-murder charges he received for the shooting, and three for disputes with the Immigration and Naturalization Services over his residency in the U.S. He was released from prison in 1997.
After being bailed out by Russell Simmons, Walters recorded his second album, The Ruler's Back, released in 1991. Despite peaking at No. 29 on the Billboard Hot 100, the album received mixed reviews and was not as commercially successful as his debut. In the documentary film, The Show, Russell Simmons interviewed Walters while he was imprisoned on Rikers Island.
Walters' third studio album (the fourth for Def Jam) Behind Bars was released in 1994, while he was still incarcerated. It was met with lukewarm sales and reviews. Behind Bars peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, and No. 51 on the Billboard 200.
Walters remained with the Def Jam label, and on May 25, 1999, released a fourth album, The Art of Storytelling. The Art of Storytelling was a comeback-album that paired him with prolific MCs like Nas, OutKast, Raekwon, and Snoop Dogg. The Los Angeles Times announced it as the "triumphant return of rap's premier yarn-spinner", calling the song "2 Way Street" "a much-needed alternative to rap's misogynistic slant". It charted higher than any of Slick Rick's prior releases: No. 8 on the Billboard 200; and No. 1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.
After performing on a Caribbean cruise ship in June 2002, Walters was arrested by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) as he re-entered the United States through Florida. He was promptly told that he was being deported under a law allowing deportation of foreigners convicted of felonies. Rick was continuously refused bail, but after 17 months in prison he was released on November 7, 2003. In October 2006, the Department of Homeland Security began a new attempt to deport Walters back to the United Kingdom, 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 was expected to proceed in Florida, where immigration agents originally arrested Walters.
On May 23, 2008, New York Governor David Paterson granted Slick Rick a full and unconditional pardon on the attempted murder charges. The governor was pleased with his behavior since the attempted murders. Slick Rick has volunteered his time to mentor kids about violence.
Walters married his wife Mandy Aragones in April 1997, four years after the couple met at a Manhattan nightclub. The performer has two children, Ricky Martin Lloyd Santiago and Lateisha Walters, from a previous relationship. He and his wife have donated about a dozen items from his collection to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Slick Rick and the Soul Rebels Brass Band collaborated on June 21, 2012 in Washington, D.C. at the historic Howard Theatre which re-opened in April 2012.
In addition, Rick was a Mixx Cares Humanitarian Award recipient.
On April 15, 2016, Rick was granted U.S. citizenship, remarking, "I am so proud of this moment—and so honored to finally become an American citizen." He will also retain his UK citizenship.
On November 2, 2018, Rick released the single "Snakes of the World Today". In 2020, Rick featured on Westside Gunn's album Who Made the Sunshine.