If there's one thing Slick Rick has mastered, it is The Art of Storytelling. Ever since his debut, The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, he has been known for his literate, winding narratives, but his career was marred by legal troubles that kept him in prison for much of the '90s. Consequently, The Art of Storytelling is only his fourth album, but it's the first to rank as a worthy sequel to his classic debut. The Ruler's Back came close to capturing the feel of The Great Adventures, but The Art has a continually stunning set of stories and tales, and the presence of guest artists -- even rappers as talented as OutKast, Nas, Raekwon, and Snoop Dogg -- only emphasizes what a singular talent Rick is. The smooth production may be a little bit mired in contemporary rap clichés, but it's all enjoyable. Besides, Rick is about the lyrics, not the music, and he has written a stellar set of songs here, songs that are continually surprising and thought-provoking. It's a masterful set from one of the true lyrical masters of hip-hop.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
feat: Corey Woods
feat: Snoop Dogg