Adrian Thaws (born January 27, 1968), better known as Tricky, is an English rapper and musician important in the trip hop and British music scene (despite loathing the "trip hop" tag). He is noted for a whispering lyrical style that is half-rapped, half-sung. As a producer and a musician he is noted for having an aversion to perfection preferring to build up a dark, rich and layered sound. Culturally, Tricky bridges white and black Britain particularly in his fusion of rock and hip-hop, high art and pop culture.
Tricky was a member of the influential 80s Bristol sound system The Wild Bunch and contributed to the first two Massive Attack albums. As a member of the Wild Bunch he used the moniker "Tricky Kid" (a reference to his unreliable behaviour) but this was shortened to simply "Tricky" when a member of Massive Attack.
He left Massive Attack to release his debut album Maxinquaye (named after his mother "Maxine Quayle"). The album was a massive success and Tricky was catapulted to international fame, something he was notably uncomfortable with.
Tricky failed to complete a number of lyrics for the Massive Attack album Protection and gave the band some of the lyrics he had written for Maxinquaye instead. Different versions of the same song appear on both albums although only the Massive Attack versions were released as singles.
Tricky found it difficult to cope with the huge success of Maxinquaye and he subsequently eschewed the laidback soul sound of the first album to create an increasingly edgy and aggressive punk tinged music.
By the time Pre-Millennium Tension was released Tricky was increasingly irritated with the press, particularly articles written in The Face magazine. The Face had been an early champion of Maxinquaye but saw Tricky as more a duo than a solo project. His relationship with singer Martina Topley-Bird with whom he had a child at roughly the same time fell apart professionally and personally.
Tricky appeared in a significant supporting role in the 1997 Luc Besson film The Fifth Element, playing the unnamed right-hand man to evil businessman Mr. Zorg. He also appears briefly in the 2004 Olivier Assayas film Clean, playing himself, and had a role in the video for "Parabol/Parabola" by Tool.
- Chesney Hawkes
- DJ Muggs
- Ed Kowalczyk of Live
- Martina Topley-Bird
- Neneh Cherry
- PJ Harvey
- Red Hot Chilli Peppers
- The Baby Namboos