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On Saturday (May 25), Slick Rick’s the Art of Storytelling turns 20-years-old.

Daily Operation: Slick Rick and The Art of Storytelling (May 25, 1999)

On May 25, 1999, Slick Rick released his fourth and still most recent album, The Art of Storytelling. It became Rick's most commercially successful album, reaching No. 8 on the Billboard 200, and No. 1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop chart.

The British rapper’s fourth studio album was released in 1999. The Art of Storytelling came out after he was released from a prison stint for attempted murder charges after shooting his cousin, who attempted to extort and rob the “Children’s Story” MC. It’s considered the true follow up to Rick’s 1988 debut, The Great Adventures of Slick Rick. The Art of Storytelling featured a ton of guest appearances from artists such as Redman, Big Boi, Nas, Canibus, Q-Tip, Snoop Dogg, Raekwon, Peter Gunz, among others. Rick is known for his impeccable storytelling skills which were on full display on Storytelling.

Instead of doing a typical anniversary post, we decided to honor The Ruler by highlighting tracks by artists who have epitomized Ricks’ storytelling capabilities. Check them out below.

1.Notorious B.I.G. “I Got a Story to Tell” (Life After Death)

Biggie Smalls - I Got A Story To Tell

Biggie Smalls - I Got A Story To Tell

With his candor, wit, and humor The Notorious B.I.G. tells a story of having sex with a woman, who was dating a New York Knick NBA player that came home during the middle of Big’s rendezvous on “I Got a Story to Tell.” It appears on Biggie’s double album, Life After Death.

2. Jean Grae “My Story” (Jeanius)

Jean Grae - My Story (Music Video)

Jean Grae "My Story" music video (Short Version). From the album "Jeanius" produced by 9th Wonder, on Blacksmith Music / Warner. The video was written, directed and Edited by Monihan Monihan and Co-Written by Talib Kweli. Starring Lynnette Astairewas. Produced by Bricolagista! Jean Grae Bricolagista!

Jean Grae’s “My Story” is a beautiful open letter to her mother about how the South African MC experienced getting an abortion at a young age. The heartfelt track is featured on Jean Grae’s Jeanius.

3. Trina’s “U & Me” (Diamond Princess)

U & Me

Provided to YouTube by Warner Music Group U & Me · Trina Diamond Princess ℗ 2002 Slip-N-Slide Records, Inc. exclusively licensed to Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc.

On Trina’s “U &Me” the Miami rapper reflects upon a friendship gone sour, and why she and her former friend were such great home girls in the first place. It appears on Trina’s album, Diamond Princess.

4.Nas “Rewind” (Stillmatic)


Provided to YouTube by Sony Music Entertainment Rewind · Nas Stillmatic ℗ 2001 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment Composer, Lyricist: Nasir Jones Producer: Large Professor for Paul Sea Productions, Inc. Composer, Lyricist: Paul Mitchell Executive Producer: Destiny Jones Assistant Engineer: Jake Ninan Composer, Lyricist: Rick Rubin Assistant Engineer: Paul Gregory Composer, Lyricist: Lillian Armstrong Recording Engineer: Kevin Crouse Auto-generated by YouTube.

Nas’ “Rewind” is appropriately titled as the Queens MC recounts a sexapade backwards. The track is easily one of Nas’ most witty songs. It appears on Nas’ Stillmatic.

5. DMX “Here We Go Again” (And Then There Was X)


On “And Then There Was X” DMX tells a story about a younger friend, who he should have killed, according to street code, but didn’t because he care about him too much. It appears on DMX’s And Then There Was X.

6. Lil Kim’s “Lil’ Drummer Boy” (Notorious K.I.M.)

On “Lil’ Drummer Boy” Lil Kim creatively tells a fictional story about appearing in court before a judge to reflect upon a time when she and her homies had a shoot out at a restaurant along with the help of Cee-Lo and Redman. It appears on Kim’s Notorious K.I.M.

7. Jay-Z “Song Cry” (The Blueprint)

JAY-Z - Song Cry

Music video by Jay-Z performing Song Cry. YouTube view counts pre-VEVO: 4,019,970. (C) 2001 Roc-A-Fella Records, LLC

On “Song Cry” Hov reflects upon a few relationships with former lovers, who wanted more from the Brooklyn rapper than he could give. The track that features singer Jaguar Wright appeared on Jay’s sixth studio album, The Blueprint.

8. J. Cole’s “Sideline Story”(Cole World: The Sideline Story)

J. Cole - Sideline Story

J. Cole - Sideline Story

A burgeoning J. Cole recounts his frustration with being overlooked in the industry prior to becoming pegged one of hip-hop’s best on “Sideline Story.” It appears on the North Carolina rapper’s Cole World: The Sideline Story.

9. Nas’s “Get Down” (God’s Son)

Nas - Get Down [ God's Son ]

One of Nasir Jones' aka Nas' best albums.

Nas’ “Get Down” tells a vividly detailed story of the East coast rapper’s experience while visiting the south and getting offered a laced blunt while visiting family, and more. The Salaam Remi-produced track appears on Nas’ God’s Son.

Glennisha Morgan is a Detroit-bred multimedia journalist and writer. She writes about intersectionality, hip-hop, pop culture, queer issues, race, feminism, and her truth. Follow her on Twitter.

Glennisha Morgan is a Detroit-bred multimedia journalist and writer. She writes about intersectionality, hip-hop, pop culture, queer issues, race, feminism, and her truth. Follow her on Twitter @GlennishaMorgan.