Slick Rick’s The Great Adventures of Slick Rick album celebrated its 28th anniversary this week. While De La Soul celebrated two landmark anniversaries this year — 25 years for De La Soul is Dead and 20 years for Stakes is High — the New York legend beat out the trio’s 1989 debut album 3 Feet High and Rising in terms of rap legacy by dropping his LP a year earlier on November 1, 1988.
Dana Dane, a childhood friend and collaborator of Slick Rick, shared the significance of the project in an episode of Best Albums with Unique Access Entertainment. Back in the day, he appeared in the video for “Teenage Love,” which was the first single off The Great Adventures of Slick Rick.
“When he was gonna put that song out, I was like, ‘Really?’ ‘Cause it was slow,” Dana Dane said. “It was different. It was dope, but it was different. … It took me by surprise, too and I didn’t know it was going to be as big as it was.”
Dana Dane said the album’s variety gives it extra reason to add to its icon status. While “Teenage Love” was the family friendly lead single, the opening track of The Great Adventures of Slick Rick is “Treat Her Like a Prostitute.”
“So if you were new to Slick Rick and then you heard ‘Teenage Love’ and you were like, ‘Mom, I want that album,’ then you put that album on in the house and you go, ‘Treat her like a prosti-,'” he laughed.
Slick Rick self-produced most of the album, including “Mona Lisa” and “Hey Young World,” which has helped the project’s legacy with its Caribbean vibe and being sampled by others, including Macy Gray.
“It had like a little Jamaican bounce to it. So he really went to his West Indian roots to rock that one out,” Dana Dane said of “Hey Young World.”
Perhaps the most cherished song off the album is “Children’s Story” where Uncle Ricky literally tells a bedtime story that many in the hood could relate to.
“I think Rick was just into telling a story and getting it out and then let the whatever comes before, ’cause he did ‘Mona Lisa’ kinda the same way. …” Dana Dane said. “It just talked to every kid and grown-up about bedtime stories. Then, it’s a story itself. The story’s about a little kid who just went off the wrong path. He was a good little kid and then, that was happening every day in the hood.”
With many of the songs holding their place in rap history on their own, Dana Dane said The Great Adventures of Slick Rick is an iconic album for multiple reasons. With Nicki Minaj, Kendrick Lamar and more utilizing different voices and characters in their music, Slick Rick set the blueprint with his now-28-year-old LP.
“It’s going to go down as one of the greatest storytelling albums of all times,” he said. “He’s also set the bar of multiple characters on a record. He’s Slick Rick, he’s Rick the Ruler, he’s the mother.”
Slick Rick celebrated another accomplishment this year when he was granted his United States citizenship after a 23-year-long battle.