The Ruler's Back

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The Ruler's Back
Studio album by
ReleasedJuly 2, 1991
GenreGolden age hip hop
Slick Rick chronology
The Great Adventures of Slick Rick
The Ruler's Back
Behind Bars
Singles from The Ruler's Back
  1. "I Shouldn't Have Done It"
    Released: November 6, 1990
  2. "Mistakes of a Woman in Love with Other Men"
    Released: June 1991
  3. "It's a Boy"
    Released: November 21, 1991
Professional ratings
Review scores
Robert ChristgauA-[3]
The Encyclopedia of Popular Music[4]
Entertainment WeeklyB[5]
Los Angeles Times[6]
The New Rolling Stone Album Guide[7]
Spin Alternative Record Guide5/10[8]

The Ruler's Back is the second studio album by British-American rapper Slick Rick, released in 1991 on Def Jam Recordings.[9][10]

Upon its release, The Ruler's Back achieved notable chart success, peaking at number 29 on the Billboard 200, and number 18 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. The album features the hit single "I Shouldn't Have Done It", which peaked at number 2 on the Hot Rap Singles.[11]


The album contains production from Vance Wright, Slick Rick and Mr. Lee. The Ruler's Back was recorded in three weeks, while Rick was on bail before starting a jail sentence that would end in 1996.[4]

Critical reception[edit]

The Los Angeles Times wrote that "there’s the eerie feeling that you’ve experienced something but you’re not sure what, as you might after reading a Denis Johnson novel or seeing an old Cocteau film late at night on public TV. The Ruler’s Back moves along at the speed of thought."[6] Trouser Press called the album Rick's "most entertaining and least offensive longplayer."[1] The Washington Post called the album "disappointing," writing that "for some reason, Rick has adopted a high-speed rapping style that undercuts his two great strengths -- humor and storytelling grace."[12]

Track listing[edit]

1."King"Vance Wright, Slick Rick3:42
2."I Shouldn't Have Done It"Vance Wright4:05
3."Bond"Vance Wright2:53
4."Moses"Vance Wright, Slick Rick4:04
5."Tonto"Vance Wright, Slick Rick3:17
6."Mistakes of a Woman in Love With Other Men"Vance Wright, Slick Rick4:08
7."Venus"Vance Wright3:45
8."Ship"Vance Wright, Slick Rick3:05
9."It's a Boy"Vance Wright3:29
10."Top Cat"Vance Wright, Slick Rick3:23
11."Runaway"Slick Rick, Vance Wright3:49
12."Slick Rick - The Ruler"Mr. Lee6:06



  • Slick Rick - performer, producer, executive producer
  • Vance Wright - producer, executive producer
  • Mr. Lee - producer
  • Russell Simmons - executive producer
  • Francesca Spero - executive producer
  • Darroll Gustamachio - engineer, mixing
  • Thom Leinbach - Gabriel moreno - engineer, mixing
  • Everett Ramos - engineer, mixing
  • Rory Young - programming, engineer
  • Cey Adams - design
  • Jules T. Allen- Alvaro Almagro - photography


Chart (1991) Peak
US Billboard 200[13] 29
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[14] 18


  1. ^ a b "Slick Rick". Trouser Press. Retrieved 16 January 2021.
  2. ^ "The Ruler's Back - Slick Rick | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic" – via
  3. ^ "Robert Christgau: CG: Slick Rick".
  4. ^ a b Larkin, Colin (2006). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Vol. 7. MUZE. p. 525.
  5. ^ "The Ruler's Back".
  6. ^ a b "**** SLICK RICK "The Ruler's Back" Def Jam : Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor) to five (a classic)". Los Angeles Times. 11 August 1991.
  7. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian David (16 January 2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9780743201698 – via Google Books.
  8. ^ Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. 1995. p. 359.
  9. ^ "Slick Rick | Biography & History". AllMusic.
  10. ^ "Slick Rick: 'You learn from prison time – what doesn't kill you makes you stronger'". the Guardian. 24 November 2016.
  11. ^ Allah, Sha Be (2 July 2015). "The Source |Today In Hip Hop History: Slick Rick Drops His Album 'The Ruler's Back' 24 Years Ago".
  12. ^ Mills, David (31 July 1991). "RAPPERS' VIOLENT REALITY" – via
  13. ^ "Slick Rick Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard.
  14. ^ "Slick Rick Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard.

External links[edit]