April 15, 2016


Slick Rick Gets American Citizenship After 23-Year Legal Battle

Getty Images
Getty Images

It's a happy day for Slick Rick: The rap legend has procured his American citizenship as the legal battle he's been fighting for over two decades finally came to a close.

Rick—a/k/a Ricky Martin Lloyd Walters—was sworn in today at the age of 51 in New York. Though he and his family moved from London to the U.S. when Rick was a kid, his citizenship has been tough to come by: In 1990, he pled guilty and was sent to prison following the shooting of his cousin and bodyguard, Mark Plummer, and a bystander, and served five years of jail time. (His aptly titled Behind Bars wasn't hindered by his incarceration, as the album dropped while he was still, well, behind bars in 1994.) Various deportation proceedings followed, and then-Governor of New York, David Paterson, eventually pardoned Rick's attempted murder charge in 2008.

Now, that's all in the past, as Slick Rick is officially a dual citizen holding onto both American and British passports. Here's what he said in a statement:

“I am so proud of this moment—and so honored to finally become an American citizen. 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.”