SLICK RICK - THE RULER: With this piece I took an approach that initially might seem strange to those familiar with one of HipHop’s greatest storytellers. From his days with Dana Dane as the Kangol Crew through his stint as part of the Get Fresh Crew, and throughout his solo career, Slick Rick not only raised the bar regarding comprehensive lyrical structure and lyrics, but he also cultivated an extravagantly materialistic image that eventually became far too prevalent in rap music.

He accomplished the latter with the most ridiculous collection of gold necklaces, rings, medallions, pendants, suits hats and fur coats east of the seedy end of Sunset Blvd.

The former he achieved with his penchant for painting vivid pictures through rhyme that combined lighthearted themes, violence, sexism, cautionary tales and braggadocio all in the same song — sometimes the same verse.

While thinking about this piece and listening to the classic “The Great Adventures of Slick Rick,” I figured this would be a less complicated piece conceptually because Slick Rick is such a flamboyant emcee. But the more I listened I realized that plenty of emcees over the years have looked flamboyant but dropped mediocre rhymes. With Slick Rick the true flamboyancy and flavor came through in his rhymes.

All of that led to this piece, where I decided to use black and white for the images of Slick Rick, saving all of the color in the piece for the lyrics to my favorite Slick Rick cut, “Children’s Story.” Then to add that “street,” HipHop flavor that is always present but not always prominent in Slick Rick’s work, I went with the fat-tip Sharpie and tagged up the outro line.