Once Upon a Time Not Long Ago; NYTimes Interviews Bronx Hip Hop Pioneer Slick Rick


“If you see me walking down the street
And I start to cry.. each time we meet..
Walk on by.. walk on by..
Foolish pride
That’s all that I have left, so, let me hide
The pain and the hurt that you gave me
When you said goodbye..
You walked on by..”

Growing up in The Bronx in the late 1980’s you couldn’t escape the beats and lyrics of Slick Rick’s hip-hop songs.  Everywhere you went someone was either playing it on their boomboxes or you heard his songs, of the relatively nascent genre, on the airwaves.

Now, The New York Times has published an interview by David Gonzalez taking us into the living room of Slick Rick, his wife, and this legend’s life.

Gonzalez writes:

“But like a storyteller used to improvising new endings, Mr. Walters does not dwell on those rough spots. He still tours and composes songs. He leads a low-key life, living in the same northeast Bronx neighborhood that he settled into with his Jamaican mother and his sister when they moved from England in 1976. For someone who is considered to be among the pivotal figures of hip-hop’s golden age, what better place to be than in the borough that spawned a global culture?

“People always want to hear about the Bronx,” Mr. Walters, a Grammy-nominated artist, said. “It’s the essence and the ambience of the culture. It’s my little English accent with the slang, it’s the shoes, the jewelry. The swag. It’s the whole essence of representing the Bronx.”

In the interview, Slick Rick, aka Ricky Walters says of Hip-Hop:

“Hip-hop disrupted the order of things,” he said. “It was the pulpit, and if you put the right person in front of the pulpit, they can speak for the youth of the planet. Instead, it was altered and diluted. What you see now are performers who have been broken to fit into a mold. They are not going to disrupt the order of things.”

Read the rest: At 50, Slick Rick, a Hip-Hop Pioneer, Still Has Stories to Tell – The New York Times

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Ed García Conde

Ed García Conde is a life-long Bronxite who spends his time documenting the people, places, and things that make the borough a special place in the hopes of dispelling the negative stereotypes associated with The Bronx. His writings are often cited by mainstream media and is often consulted for his expertise on the borough's rich history.