Born to Jamaican parents in South Wimbledon, London, on January 14, 1965, Slick Rick, born Ricky Martin Lloyd Walters, who has always been considered ahead of his time, is the most successful British-American rapper in music history. Brilliant word play, the effort-less ability to bring life to the stories he rhymed about, dead on pop-culture references and hilarious one-liners make him the wittiest rapper of all time.

He immigrated with his family to the Bronx in the late '70s and attended the La Guardia High School of Music & Art, where he became friends with future rapper Dana Dane. Rick began to gravitate towards the makeshift music of the streets. The two formed the Kangol Crew, and began performing in hip-hop battles around the city. At one 1984 battle in the Bronx, Rick met Doug E. Fresh, and began playing with his Get Fresh Crew (which also included Chill Will and Barry Bee). In the summer of 1985, the duo released their historic singles, "The Show and La Di Da Di." Fresh's beatbox and Rick's smooth lyrical delivery turned rap music on its head and MC Ricky D. — as Rick was known then– leaped to a solo contract two years later, after an acquaintance with Russell Simmons and Lyor Cohen led him to become the 3rd artist signed to Def Jam Records, the biggest label in hip-hop at the time. Before long, Rick would establish himself as one of the architects of hip-hop.

His career in full swing, he released his first solo album in 1988 titled The Great Adventures of Slick Rick. It hit No.1. on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop charts and was one of the first hip-hop records to go platinum. Rick was preparing to record his sophomore effort, The Ruler's Back, but three weeks of recording sessions were followed by five years in jail.

With his sudden rise to fame, Rick the Ruler led a flamboyant lifestyle that made him a target in his Bronx stomping ground. He hired a bodyguard; a cousin from Jamaica named Mark Plummer. But Plummer turned out to be trouble, and Rick soon let him go. When Rick got robbed and pistol-whipped in his home, it was discovered that it was Plummer and his friends. Then the rapper got shot outside a nightclub. Fearing for his life, Rick purchased a gun to protect himself. When he spotted his cousin outside a Bronx store, he panicked and fired several shots, wounding Plummer and a bystander. In the resulting high-speed chase with police, Rick drove into a tree and suffered some injuries. He pleaded guilty to attempted murder and was sentenced up to 10 years in prison. While he was serving time, his cousin broke into a home, raped a boy and was shot to death by the boy's father.

Rick hurried to complete his second album before serving his sentence in 1991.

In prison, Slick Rick proved himself a model inmate, and in 1994, he was granted work release to record his third album, 'Behind Bars.' However, after just six months, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service informed Rick of their plans to deport him. All work-release privileges were ceased, and authorities sent Rick back to prison. He served his time dutifully, though, and even released his third album, the aptly named Behind Bars.

A fourth Def Jam recording, The Art of Storytelling, appeared in 1999. It featured a plethora of big-name rappers, i.e. Nas, OutKast, Raekwon from the Wu-Tang Clan, Snoop Dogg, Kid Capri, Canibus and Doug E. Fresh. The album is among the few to receive a perfect five-mic score from The Source magazine. To this day, the album is considered one of the greatest contributions to the hip-hop genre.

These days, much of Slick Rick's story remains untold. The myriad articles about prison and shootings may sell magazines, but they tend to overshadow the rapper's prodigious and influential body of work. Ultimately, Rick's well-publicized legal entanglements have obscured his art. Rick has spent more than seven years in prison, two and a half for the second degree attempted murder charges he received for that shooting, and three and a half more years in a federal detention center while hassling with Immigrations Services over his residency in the US.

It's a strange dichotomy though, because Rick's mystique is an integral part of his stagecraft…his allure as they say. The eye patch; the British accent; the sinister demeanor…it's bewildering. Which part is real, which is shtick?

Clearly, there are moments of deliberate ambiguity in the Slick Rick Experience (enough to make P.T. Barnum blush). Still, plenty of facts uphold the mythos. The eye patch, for instance, is legit, courtesy of a glass shard that flew into Rick's eye when he was an infant. And the British accent is genuine — its casual refinement belies every dumb gangsta stereotype. Throw in some gleaming grills, some bejeweled outerwear and – voila – you have the genius of Slick Rick. He's no reticent wallflower – he's larger than life.

PMD

Parrish J. Smith (born May 13, 1968), better known as PMD (Parish Making Dollars), is an east coast rapper from Smithtown, Long Island and one-half of EPMD.
PMD, who attended Brentwood High School,[1] currently resides in Bay Shore, New York. He is a member of the rap group, EPMD with Erick Sermon. He has released three solo albums, 1994's Shade Business, 1996's Business Is Business and 2003's The Awakening. Also, in 2002, he released an album with Japanese hip hop luminary DJ Honda titled Underground Connection. Recently, he has been on tour throughout the US and Europe. He also recently was a panelist at the 2011 Midatlantic Music Conference in Charlotte NC where he shared his insight to aspiring artists the ins and outs of being independent and how to successfully make money while doing it.

G.L.C. (Gangsta L. Crisis) captured the attention of listeners looking for honesty and integrity in Hip Hop music with one heart-felt guest appearance. Just as much as it was his flow, it was the power in the words he rapped on "Spaceship" that gained GLC an audience and fan base. Now more than three years removed from his entrance to Hip Hop's mainstream, G.L.C. is preparing for the release of his debut album, and the flight of his own solo career.

One must wonder how a rapper without any full-length album, and little radio play can manage to pick up two Grammies as well as the respect and admiration of Hip Hoppers across the board? G.L.C.'s formula for doing so is a combination of Life, Love, and Loyalty. G.L.C. is able to connect to listeners both in the streets, as well as professional walks of life by being himself in and out of the booth. He says, "When I go into the booth, I don't have a rap voice, or a rap character that I become. I'm the same dude at all times. I'm that man with an interesting life off 87th street. I speak for the common folk, as well as the hustlers and the street entrepreneurs, people trying to better themselves."

G.L.C. has continually bettered himself and his music through hard work and dedication. He found poetry and Hip Hop at an early age, and used both to cope with the passing of his parents. While dealing with the pain, a growing talent presented itself. For years G.L.C. seemed to be caught between two worlds. He worked in clothing stores, while continually hustling in the streets. Throughout this time he also harbored dreams of being a Hip Hop artist, and infused his songs with lyrics that spoke to his people grinding in the streets of Chicago, as well as those working a 9-5. Eventually he decided that music was the best way to accomplish his dreams and he would not let any roadblocks stop his journey towards success.

"As long as you're talking about the negativity, you're only attracting more negativity into your life. Stay positive. I was dead broke. I was living in my sister's basement. All I had was a VS-880 (8-track recorder) but I did 2-3 songs a day," G.L.C. recalls.

"The way the music was back then, the skill level I've acquired over the years, it wasn't that back then. But it took that to get to where I am now. It took that hard work. It took that perseverance, it took the dedication, discipline, and determination. I wasn't sitting around complaining about what I didn't have. I focused on getting what I didn't have. So, as long as you focus on bettering yourself, that's what's going to happen. If you sit around letting your problems get the best of you, you're not going to make it in nothing. That's negative. Negativity is not the way. You got to eliminate negative people out of your life."

That positive attitude is what has led him to become one of the most respected and sought after artists in a city known for its cold temperatures and colder shoulders. A full believer in Karma, G.L.C. chooses to collaborate with artists even if the short-term benefit is small. He reasons, "God has really blessed me to make it this far, and to almost be done with my album. As long as God has blessed me, it's only right for me to spread those blessings. So that's why I get in the studio with somebody and they can put 'featuring G.L.C.' on the cover of their thing. This might help push what they're doing, and I don't see nothing in return. My blessing's going to come."

It is only natural for G.L.C. to have that mindset. After all, his blessings started when childhood friend, Hip Hop icon Kanye West, offered G.L.C. a guest appearance on his debut album, The College Dropout. G.L.C. took advantage and delivered a verse that will resonate with listeners for years to come. He followed it up with another stellar performance on "Drive Slow," from Kanye's sophomore LP, Late Registration. Since then, G.L.C. has released mixtapes with DJ A-Trak (Drive Slow), DJ Geno (I Ain't Even On Yet), as well as Sean Mac (Honor Me). All the projects show that he is more than a one-verse wonder. In fact, he welcomes the doubters as they only propel him. "I thank God for the haters. I look at it like this, if everybody doens't like you, then you're doing something wrong. If everybody says they love you, you got to question that because someone might be being phony."

Beyond the haters, G.L.C. is fueled by his own motivations for greatness, and his honor as a man. He says, "I could have been like, 'yeah. I made it on a Grammy award-winning album,' and quit. Or, 'now I'm on two Grammy award-winning albums,' and quit. I performed all over the world, Staples Center, United Center, Madison Square Garden, I did all that. Abbey Road where the Beatles recorded, I did that. I did so much that I can tell these stories to my grand kids and be like, 'this was my life and I'm cool.' But there's so much more. I want to leave a legacy. I don't just want to leave memories when I'm gone. I want to live forever. You live through your legacy. I want people to say, 'you see that building right there? That's the G.L.C. Foundation.' When people see my grandkids they say, 'that's G.L.C.'s grandkids.' That means something. That means that I'm still alive because I'm still in your head when I'm dead and gone."

G.L.C. presents a refreshing alternative in an industry that is quick to stab someone in the back, as well as forget a name. After introducing himself to the world via Kanye West, G.L.C. is ready to take flight on his own accord. And he's got plenty of room to take his audience with him.

"My album is going to take you to a place, It's not going to be a listening experience-it's going to take you to my world. So, whenever you feel like you're in a certain mood and you want to escape all your problems, although you're still going to have to face that reality at the end of the day, whenever you need a simple escape, that's when you put my CD in. My album will make you laugh, it will make you cry and it make you feel unstoppable! You will be inspired to get it, being what ever you desire! "

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Slick Rick, PMD, GLC

Saturday, July 27 · Doors 2:00 PM at The Riot Room