Slick Rick announces the Record Store Day release of Great Adventures of… Children’s Book April 22, in partnership with Universal Music Group and Get On Down, “the hip-hop box set kings,” according to FACTmagazine. Based on Rick’s 1988 rap classic “Children’s Story,” this actual children’s book will arrive with a puffy cover; thick, high-caliper pages and illustrations detailing characters and events described in the cops-and-robbers single from The Great Adventures of Slick Rick.
Storytelling has been a part of the hip-hop lexicon from the artform’s start. In the passing decades no tale-weaver has ever compared to Slick Rick. Even masters who came in Rick’s wake – including Will Smith, Ghostface and Eminem – will readily admit, no one does it better than MC Ricky D.
By 1987, Rick headed out on a solo career, landing on Def Jam Records. Amongst fierce competition in 1988 – alongside labelmates Public Enemy and legends like Eric B. & Rakim, Boogie Down Productions, Ice-T and N.W.A. – Rick released arguably the most unique album of the year: The Great Adventures of Slick Rick.
Produced by Rick himself alongside proven NYC hit makers like Jam Master Jay and The Bomb Squad, the album showed that Rick’s lyrical skills were only matched by his vivid imagination, as heard on singles like “Hey Young World” and “Teenage Love”; but even more so in deeper album cuts including “Mona Lisa,” “The Ruler’s Back”, “The Moment I Feared” and “KIT (What’s The Scoop).”
When it comes to Rick and his tales, though, the smash single “Children’s Story” is perhaps his best, recited to this day by fans and MCs in training as a rite of passage. Just hearing the opening lines begins a sing-along that can quickly fill a room: “Once upon a time / Not long ago / When people wore pajamas and lived life slow….”
While grimier songs from rap’s golden age sound dated today, “Children’s Story” remains transcendent, a timeless classic, thanks to its warm, pop-friendly production. And Rick’s cautionary tale was flipped into Montell Jordan’s bold life-style statement “This Is How We Do It,” achieving even higher levels of acclaim. From television commercials to NBA games and parties from coast-to-coast, this throwback track, it seems, will always have a bright life.
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