Behind Bars is the third studio album by the British-American rapper Slick Rick, released in 1994 on Def Jam Recordings.
Behind Bars peaked at number 51 on the Billboard 200, and number 11 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. The album spawned two singles, “Behind Bars” and “Sittin’ in My Car”, which made it to number 12 and number 11 on the Hot Rap Singles, respectively
The album contains production from Vance Wright, Pete Rock, Large Professor, Easy Mo Bee, and Warren G. Doug E. Fresh, Nice & Smooth, and Warren G make guest appearances on a few tracks. Like The Ruler’s Back, Rick recorded the album while on furlough from prison, and the music was constructed around his vocals—on some tracks, years after being recorded. Part of the album was also recorded during a 1993 work release period.
Trouser Press wrote that the album “touches on the live-from-inside chill of an Iceberg Slim novel in the title track, but otherwise doesn’t mention [Rick’s incarceration] … Rick doesn’t seem very connected to the music, but his complaints ring with the rancid air of preoccupation by someone with too much time to obsess about his frustrations.” Vibe thought that “Rick’s legendary street brilliance and sparkling, charming wit can even be distilled from behind bars.”The Independent praised Rick’s “worldly, laconic delivery and freewheeling, unexpurgated tales of everyday B-boy tribulations.” The Spin Alternative Record Guide opined: “When the fantasy and reality collapse into one another … the effect is a hip-hop revelation, opening a new space in the black male autobiographical narrative.”