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Preview: Slick Rick

Noah Bonaparte Pais on the eyepatched MC coming to The Maison April 10



"Just another case about the wrong path/ Straight and narrow or your soul gets cast." Except the story of Richard Martin Lloyd Walters is not so cut and dried: a Jamaican-blooded Londoner who would reign supreme over Bronx rap battles, imbuing urban legends with Queen's English diction, bit characters and a clarinetist's singsong flow; a convicted felon whose ascent was curtailed in 1990 — two years after his classic splash The Great Adventures of Slick Rick — when he pleaded guilty to attempted murder charges and was sentenced to Rikers Island. To many, the explanation was irrelevant; the smooth-talking, eyepatch-clad MC known as Slick Rick had become his own cautionary tale, hip-hop's master storyteller incapable of following his own advice. (The truth is more twisted: The man he shot, Mark Plummer, his cousin and former bodyguard, had tormented Rick with extortion and death threats.) Rick served five years, plus another 17 months in 2001, the assault mushrooming into a series of immigration conflicts due to his criminal record. Unlike "Children's Story," this one has a happy ending: artistic vindication via 1999's The Art of Storytelling (featuring duets with indebted followers Nas, Snoop Dogg and OutKast), a clear name from a 2008 pardon by then-New York Gov. David Paterson and, now, a 19-date national tour celebrating the 25th anniversary of Great Adventures. Just another case about a right turn. Tickets $20 general admission, $35 VIP. — Noah Bonaparte Pais

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