An Evening of Hip-Hop Storytelling With Slick Rick

Slick Rick rapping into the mic wearing a gray sleeveless shirt and silver bling
Slick Rick raps into the mic at Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox

On a chilly Tuesday night, hip-hop heads flocked to a swanky downtown music venue and restaurant to catch arguably the genre’s greatest storyteller.  

The legendary Slick Rick (real name Richard Martin Lloyd Walters, also known as “Rick the Ruler” and “MC Ricky D”) has been one of the most prominent artists in the hip-hop game, as  both a rapper and record producer. “La Di Da Di,” which he made  in collaboration with Doug E. Fresh in 1985, became one of the most-sampled songs in music. In 1988, he released his debut album The  Adventures of Slick Rick, which showcased his unique narrative style of storytelling. It won the hearts of  hip-hop lovers and went certified platinum.

Rick the Ruler headlined at Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox, a self-proclaimed “gastrobrothel” in the Denver Ballpark District that offers great food and drinks to be enjoyed from balcony views of the lower-level stage. Music lovers can also enjoy the show from the floor level, with close views of the performing artists in their moody, intimate space. Historically a brothel, sex shop, and peep show, the redesigned space maintained a sultry vibe and sex-positive air that was perfect to showcase the East Coast legend and his opening acts.

The night started off with a set from Denver rapper Lane-O (real name Lance Lang), kicking off the flow of the night  with deep lyricism. Accompanied by a live bass guitarist, Dom, he delivered music from his recent album Us, dedicated to self-love and the power of love to bring community together.  

With the audience captivated by his strong messages, another local artist who goes by Chris Cart3r matched the energy with DJ Don P.  The crowd bumped along with his heavy-hitting lyrics, building up more anticipation for the night. 

DJ Chonz on the decks
DJ Chonz brings the energy to the crowd.

One more local artist prepared the fans for the main act, with Denver-based DJ Chonz (real  name Mario Rodriguez) throwing down old school beats and mixes that lifted the spirits of the fully packed floor. Paying homage to the legendary hip-hop producer J Dilla, Chonz incorporated a tribute piece on this night known as “Dilla Day” in remembrance of the late producer’s birthday. 

Slick Rick raps into the mic with DJ Kaos on the. decks
Slick Rick on the mic with DJ Kaos on decks

With full hearts of old and new fans alike, DJ Kaos (real name Dwight Chatman) warmed up the stage before he was joined by the one and only Slick Rick. Fans cheered as the prominent artist entered the stage with his signature bling paired with laidback streetwear. 

MC Ricky D and DJ Kaos were sure to please fans of all genres, performing a “best of” series of new school and old school hip-hop tracks. Old school hip-hop was the clear winner among the crowd, and the artist treated the fans to his take of Mos Def’s classic “Auditorium.”

The souls of old school hip-heads were full as they sang along to classics, such as “Hey Young World” and “Children’s Story.” In the sold-out show, fans took in every minute with legendary Rick the Ruler that night as he ruled the mic.

Photos by Angela Jaleh Karami

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