What Happened to Slick Rick?

April 1, 2024

Many rappers talk about the streets of Compton or the Bronx, but few have actually lived it. And even fewer have lived it like Slick Rick. The rapper with the iconic eye patch and British accent is a true original, and his lavish jewelry only adds to his legend.

Slick Rick, born Richard Martin Lloyd Walters on Jan. 14, 1965, was blinded in his right eye as an infant after a window shattered, and he’s worn the eye patch ever since. The injury didn’t just shape his music; it also led to his trademark look. “I always looked like a little pimp,” the rapper once said. “I wore a Kangol hat, I smoked some good dust, and I had that British accent.”

The iconic rapper’s style was unique in the hip hop landscape. He’s often regarded as one of the best storytellers in rap, and his Mid-Atlantic drawl is a perfect match for his use of narrative and tropes. His vocabulary and storytelling techniques are so masterful, his songs can give a Parental Advisory sticker a heart attack.

But the rapper who once went by Rick the Ruler didn’t get to enjoy his fame for long. After he became popular in the early ’80s, he had to deal with a lot of robberies, a gunfight with police, and a series of other incidents that threatened his life. In 1990, he shot his cousin and bodyguard, Mark Plummer, outside a Bronx nightclub. He was arrested, and he spent almost three years in prison before New York Gov. David Paterson pardoned him.


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