18. Slick Rick, The Great Adventures of Slick Rick
Label: Def Jam
Release Date: 11/3/1988
Slick Rick first made waves as MC Ricky D on Doug E. Fresh's "The Show"/"La Di Da Di" 12-inch, one of the most beloved singles of the '80s. After a quick name change, Slick Rick released his debut LP on Def Jam. The record was an immediate success, peaking at No. 1 on the R&B/Hip-Hop charts, spawning three charting singles ("Teenage Love," "Hey Young World," and "Children's Story"), and garnering the Source's rare 5-mic rating.
Although Rick's storytelling abilities were the most heralded, it was his voice and a uniquely relaxed, behind-the-beat cadence that stand out most immediately and would prove as influential as his chops as a narrative artist. Not that the record was flawless; "Indian Girl (An Adult Story"), in particular, hasn't aged well. That moment aside, the production and approach of The Great Adventures of Slick Rick pushed hip-hop in a completely new direction and marked the arrival of a significant new voice.