(AllHipHop News) Hip-Hop fans worldwide should prepare to see a lot more gold chains, rings, and stylish suits as pioneering Grammy-nominated rapper Slick Rick has officially become a U.S. Citizen.
After a 23-year legal process, the rapper born Ricky “Slick Rick” Martin Lloyd Walters, scored a victory today (April 15) attaining duel citizenship in both the U.S. and the U.K..
The English-born rapper and performer was sworn in at an official ceremony alongside dozens of other new citizens in New York.
“I am so proud of this moment – and so honored to finally become an American citizen,” said Slick Rick. “This has been a long time coming for me, and I am relieved to finally put this long chapter behind me. I want to thank everyone – my family, friends and fans – who have supported me and stuck by me over these 23 years. I am truly blessed – and stay tuned, I will have more to announce soon.”
Slick's musical career took off in just out of high school at 18 years old, when Doug E. Fresh and the Get Fresh Crew featured him, then known as MC Ricky D, on the Hip-Hop classics “The Show” and “La-Di-Da-Di.”
Those songs introduced Rick to the world and were two records that helped mark him as “the greatest story-teller”.
Slick's legal woes date back to 1990 when he received a prison sentence for the self-defense shooting of his cousin, during which a bystander was injured.
According to the story, his cousin was hired as a bodyguard by Rick’s mother and manager at the time,
The incident was sandwiched between albums at the height of Slick's career, just a few years after Def Jam released his debut, The Great Adventures of Slick Rick (1988) and prior to the release of The Ruler's Back (1991)
By 2008 Slick Rick was able to attain a rare pardon from then-New York Governor David A. Paterson who recognized Rick’s stellar conduct, rehabilitation and contribution to his community.
The pardon was celebrated by Rick’s family and fans as well as public figures including Reverend Jesse Jackson, Russell Simmons, Chris Rock, Will Smith, among others.
But the celebrations would be short-lived as Slick Rick was repeatedly threatened with deportation, and spent extra years in a deportation lock up, even though he had avoided trouble with the law since his original arrest.
Now with duel U.K. citizenship Slick Rick will be allowed to stay in the country with family, while also traveling overseas for his career.
Despite all the issues regarding his citizenship, Slick Rick moved with his family to the Bronx when he was 11 years old where he became a legal resident.
To date he has four Billboard Top 200 records, and 14 Top 100 Singles worldwide.