Smooth operator 

click to enlarge Slick Rick now will attempt to hypnotize a member of the - audience with his copious bling!
  • Slick Rick now will attempt to hypnotize a member of the audience with his copious bling!

Colorado Springs, it's time to see a certifiable O.G.: rap legend Slick Rick.

In the late '80s, hip-hop was going through massive changes. Run DMC still were kicking it with Tougher Than Leather, but N.W.A. and Public Enemy were coming down the line with harder-than-hardcore rhymes. DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince (that's Will Smith, for you young ones) were sneaking in their brand of goof-hop, and Salt-N-Pepa were shakin' their thangs.

In the midst of it all came Slick Rick (self-dubbed "the black Clark Gable"), proto-pimped out in gold chains, fancy clothes and his trademark eye patch. (He lost an eye as a child.) Paired with Doug E. Fresh in the Get Fresh Crew, Rick and his smooth, laid-back lyrical style spawned the hit "La Di Da Di."

Later, when he departed to go solo on the 1988 hip-hop classic The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, the rapper hit his stride. "Children's Story" became a huge hit and still influences other hip-hop artists, including Black Star's Talib Kweli and Mos Def.

Even Rick's misogyny was ahead of its time. His "Treat Her Like a Prostitute" -- a tale advising others, "Don't treat no girlie well until you're sure of the scoop" -- sent feathers flying back in the day. Still, the song is fairly tame by today's Ying Yang-influenced standards.

Fast-forward: After serving a five-year stint in the pokie for a 1991 attempted murder conviction, and a subsequent near-deportation back to England (where he was born) for the same crime, Rick released 1999's The Art of Storytelling. The well-received album featured the likes of Nas, the Wu-Tang's Raekwon and Big Boi of Outkast, all of whom count the snazzy old-school rapper as an influence.

-- Kara Luger


Slick Rick with Black Pegasus, Samir, Soul Food Hustle and Lenny Lenn

The Black Sheep, 2106 E. Platte Ave.

Tuesday, Dec. 6, 8 p.m.

Tickets: $15; visit ticketweb.com


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