Slick Rick attended the La Guardia High School of Music & Art, where he became friends with future rapper Dana Dane. The two formed the Kangol Crew, and began performing in hip-hop battles around the city. At one 1984 battle in the Bronx, Rick met Doug E. Fresh, and began playing with his Get Fresh Crew. Fresh's number four R&B hit, "The Show," exploded just one year later, and MC Ricky D. -- as Rick was then known -- leaped to a solo contract two years later, after an acquaintance with Russell Simmons led to his signing to Def Jam Records, the biggest label in hip-hop at the time.
(Photo: Press photo for Hip Hop Awards 2011 Jonathan Mannion)