Crime Song Wednesday: Children’s Story by Slick Rick

With his eye patch, gold tooth and huge jewelry Slick Rick’s image is emblematic of its time. Those early cuts of his stand tall as classics and are some of the most influential of the earlier rap records. In a genre that feeds off of the next and new thing Children’s Story has had the rare pleasure of being remade multiple time in a genre that just doesn’t do remakes.

Bottom line is that Slick Rick is one of the best MC’s ever in a genre filled with great ones. His use of voice and inflection are unmatched to this day. He was never a battle rapper and wasn’t proficient at freestyling preferring instead to craft his lyrics ahead of time — and it shows. Clearly the party records of the 60’s and 70’s were an influence.

Children’s Story is his narrative crime song masterpiece. This violent story has great characterization, just look at Dave the dope fiend. But it also offers up some sophisticated narrative techniques. Look at how he juxtaposes a violent tale in a whimsical way (which the video capitalizes on brilliantly). Or the way that he takes back the bedtime story to the darker days of the original Brothers Grimm tales. There is an underlying morality at play that isn’t there in later violent rap songs in the gansta sub-genre. It utilizes a framing device and narrative layers. Then there is that interesting line “In a madman’s dream” that casts the possibility of multiple interpretations on the song.

After the jump check out the lyrics and the music video

Uncle Ricky, will you read us a bedtime story? Please, huh, please?
Allright, you kids get to bed, I’ll get the storybook. Ya’ll Tucked in?
Yeah
Here we go…

Once apon a time not long ago
When people wore pajamas and lived life slow
Laws were stern and justice stood
And people were behaving like they’re all too good

There lived a little boy who was mislead
By another little boy and this is what he said
“Me and you tonight we gonna make some cash,
robbing old folks and making a dash”

They did the job, money came of ease,
but one couldn’t stop it’s like he had a disease
He robbed another and another and a sister and a brother,
He tried to rob a man who was a DT undercover

The cop grabbed his arm, he started acting erratic
He said “keep still boy, no need for static”
Punched him in his belly and he gave him a slap,
But little did he know the little boy was strapped

The kid pulled out a gun, he said “why’d you hit me?”
The barrel’s headed straight for the cops kidney.
The cop got scared, the kid he starts to figure
“I’ll do years if I pull this trigger”

So he cold dashed and ran around the block
Cop radios in to another lady cop
He ran by a tree, there he saw the sister
Shot for the head, he shot back but he missed her

Looked ’round good and from expectations
He decided to head for the subway station
But she was coming and he made a left
He was running top speed till he was out of breath

Knocked an old man down and swore he killed him (“sorry”)
Then he made a move to an abandoned building
Ran up the stairs up to the top floor
Opened up a door and then guess who he saw?

Dave the dope fiend shooting dope
Who don’t know the meaning of water nor soap
He said “I need bullets, hurry up, run!”
The dope fiend pulled out a spanking shotgun

They went outside
There were cops all over
So they dipped into a car
A stolen Nova

Raced up the block doing 83
Crashed into a tree near the university
Escaped alive although the car was battered
Rat-a-tat tatted and all the cops scattered

Ran out of bullets
And he still had static
Grabbed the pregnant lady
And pulled out the automatic

Pointed at her head
He said the gun was full of lead
He told the cops
“Back off, or honey here’s dead”

Deep in his heart
He knew he was wrong
So he let the lady go
And he starts to run on

Sirens sounded
And he seemed astounded
And, before long
The little boy got surrounded

He dropped the gun
And so went the glory
And this is the way
I have to end this story

He was only (“what?”) seventeen
In a madman’s dream
The cop shot the kid
I still hear him scream

This ain’t funny
So don’t you dare laugh
Just another case
About the wrong path

Straight and narrow
While your soul gets cast
Goodnight.

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Brian Lindenmuth

Brian is the non-fiction editor of Spinetingler magazine and one of the fiction editors of Snubnose Press. In addition to Spinetingler his work has appeared in Crimespree magazine and at BSC Review, Galleycat and the Mulholland Books website. He also heads the Spinetingler Award committee.

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About Brian Lindenmuth

Brian is the non-fiction editor of Spinetingler magazine and one of the fiction editors of Snubnose Press. In addition to Spinetingler his work has appeared in Crimespree magazine and at BSC Review, Galleycat and the Mulholland Books website. He also heads the Spinetingler Award committee.

One Reply to “Crime Song Wednesday: Children’s Story by Slick Rick”

  1. Classic rap song. I just heard it on the radio for the first in a long time and decided to google it. I think the end is “Straight and narrow OR you soul gets cast”. And not while. 🙂