Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Unreleased Slick Rick, Chapter Six

Now we really hit the pay dirt. This Japanese EP on Arm Your Beats features five unreleased Slick Rick tracks and, oddly, one album track off of Behind Bars ("Get a Job"). Like the "Lost Tracks" 12" (see: Chapter Four), not much is known of its origins, like when it was released. And also like the "Lost Tracks" 12", these songs are better than much of his commerical material.

So, like I said, we don't know much about where this EP came from, but we can make some educated guesses about the actual songs. Russell Simmons always said in interviews when Slick was locked up that he was holding onto heaps of recordings he'd made before he went to prison... the plan was to slowly release them over time, so that while he was incarcerated, he would still be releasing albums on a semi-regular basis. But then Mr. Walters kept getting allowed out to record new music (he worked on The Ruler's Back while out on bail and Behind Bars while on work release, though he's said both were rushed and compromised), so a lot of the "on file" verses went unused.

As I said, that's partially a guess, but I do know that the third song on side A, "Gambling," was intended for the Behind Bars LP. The Pete Rock produced track was apparently included in press copies, and even named specifically in The Source review. ...Pete Rock also produced "World Renown," which had to have been produced while Rick was in prison. Pete even starts the record by saying, "we're counting the days until you come home." The vocals seem a bit low, and you can kinda guess that Slick Rick wasn't actually rapping to this instrumental when he recorded it, but the production is hot... among Pere's best work.

"A Letter" is kinda cool, with some familiar but still engaging samples including a flute loop for the hook. And "Samson" (a dope track J-Love curiously decided to remove from his mix the second time around) features a fresh harmonica on its hook and a biographical story rap that feels like it could've come right off of The Ruler's Back, alongside "Moses" and "Bond," but it doesn't quite have that over-produced quality that hampered that album a little bit.

The best track for me, though, is "Star Trek." This is definitely vintage Slick Rick - it would sound most at home on The Great Adventures LP - with a modest but addictive beat, and Slick humming the original Star Trek theme for the hook. It tells a story of the crew of The Enterprise discovering a planet filled with beautiful women, who they immediately offend with their crass, sexual comments.

"Now, in a matter of secs, she went poutin'...
The master came and everybody start bowin'.
'I trust you know it's punishment for your words of lust.'
Said, 'welcome to Earth;' and Spock, 'Aliens-R-Us,'
F'in' around, 'so don't play me like you're deaf''
Couldn't eat no animal, and no sex until we left.
Said, 'who cares? It's better than having your ass had.'
'And don't eat nuthin' from The Tree of Good and Bad.'
Everything back to norm, nice weather, no storm;
Even fed a nigga veggies and made me feel warm.
Time passed peacefully, but how long would it last?
Scotty said, 'I want a hamburger and some fuckin' ass!'"

This might've just gone unreleased for copyright reasons... It's not hard to imagine Paramount Pictures objecting to a Mr. Spock who says, "let's rape the hooker!" But fortunately, this and the other tracks found their way onto a vinyl release eventually. The Ricky D EP is a must-have for any Slick Rick fan, more so maybe than even some of his official albums. Thank God for the hip-hop heads in Japan.

No comments:

Post a Comment