69)Slick Rick – The Ruler’s Back

Song: The Ruler’s Back

Album: The Great Adventures Of Slick Rick

Year: 1988

Before swag became one of the most vilified terms in Hip-Hop (my theory is it took the place of supreme lyricism to the point where the mere mention of the word sickens detractors now), there was no issue with flossing and bragging. Slick Rick arguably gave inspiration to Raekwon, Ghostface, Camp Lo, Kanye West, Pharrell (the intro to his DJ Drama mixtape has a really awkward but funny stream of consciousness where he speaks on how his world was altered seeing the “Hey Young World” video) and anyone with the slightest touch of flamboyance in their style. In an era where everyone chose between coming hard (Kane, Rakim, G Rap, LL Cool J when he felt like it), conscious (Chuck D, KRS One) or zany (De La Soul, Humpty Hump, Biz Markie), Slick Rick was sort of all three at times with a smooth delivery that had little to no peer.

“The Ruler’s Back” was the epitome of just shitting on everyone without really trying, Slick Rick didn’t really say he was better than anyone on this song (go hear his album Da Art Of Storytelling if you’re into over the top braggadocio) his presence spoke for itself. I don’t know if the trumpets are sampled, but it never ceases to amaze me how they were cut up. I didn’t find out until maybe last year that Jam Master Jay (may he rest in peace) was responsible for producing this masterpiece, its influence even extending to Devin The Dude’s music (listen to the opening line)

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