Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1083

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Slick Rick, Rodney P. + Intelligenz: Forum, Kentish Town, London 26/11/16

Slick Rick: Forum Kentish Town, London 26/11/16
Slick Rick: Forum Kentish Town, London 26/11/16 Slick Rick: Forum Kentish Town, London 26/11/16 Slick Rick: Forum Kentish Town, London 26/11/16 Slick Rick: Forum Kentish Town, London 26/11/16 @bluesandsoul.com Intelligenz: Forum Kentish Town, London 26/11/16 @bluesandsoul.com Intelligenz: Forum Kentish Town, London 26/11/16 @bluesandsoul.com Intelligenz: Forum Kentish Town, London 26/11/16 @bluesandsoul.com Rodney P: Forum Kentish Town, London 26/11/16 @bluesandsoul.com Slick Rick: Forum Kentish Town, London 26/11/16 @bluesandsoul.com Slick Rick: Forum Kentish Town, London 26/11/16 @bluesandsoul.com Slick Rick: Forum Kentish Town, London 26/11/16 @bluesandsoul.com Slick Rick: Forum Kentish Town, London 26/11/16 @bluesandsoul.com Slick Rick: Forum Kentish Town, London 26/11/16 @bluesandsoul.com Slick Rick: Forum Kentish Town, London 26/11/16 @bluesandsoul.com

If you like hip-hop, you know Slick Rick. Even if you don't own a Slick Rick album. One of the most heavily sampled artists of all time, he was one of the Def Jam trailblazers in the late 1980s, and his "The Great Adventures of Slick Rick" is acknowledged as one of the genre's landmark records. A natural storyteller, his work has been sampled by artists from Snoop Dogg, The Notorious BIG and Nas all the way through to Beyonce and Miley Cyrus.

Born in South London, he moved to Manhatten at the age of 11, and his British accent was once described by Questlove as one of the most beautiful things in hip hop.

When his British comeback was announced, it sent ripples of excitement through music fans.

A citizenship dispute, following his conviction for two counts of attempted murder in the early 1990s, has prevented him from performing in his homeland.

So it was little surprise that he decided to go big and brash when he did take to the stage.

There was a strong support line-up, with British hip-hop favourite Rodney P getting the audience well warmed up.

Intriguingly, the stage curtain was pulled down for the support acts. It became clear why at the start of the Slick Rick show.

Sitting on an elaborate throne, which rotated 180 degrees to face the audience after the curtain went up, the rapper donned a pink hat, suit and eye patch - a trademark look following a childhood accident.

It was a stage setup that few hip hop artists would be bold enough to have, but the 51-year-old has never lacked confidence.

A sharp dresser, he left the audience is no doubt that he isn't style over substance.

What followed was an hour-long masterclass from one of the giants of classic hip hop.

Tracks including "Children's Story", "La Di Da Di" and "Street Talkin'" had an epic feel to them as he performed them with confidence.

Another highlight was his stunning verse from Mos Def's "Auditorium", showing that the years have not diminished the Londoner's ability to entertain.

It remains to be seen whether he graces the stage in Britain again soon. There is talk of a new album on the way, his last long player, "The Art of Storytelling", having been released in 1999.

On this showing, he is well worth catching if he returns.

PHOTOS: DAVE BURKE
Words Dave Burke

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