It may have taken over two decades, but Slick Rick can officially and proudly claim the United States as his home.
Today (April 15th) marked a momentous accomplishment for Ricky Walters, as the English-born rapper and living legend was sworn in at an official ceremony alongside dozens of other new citizens of America in New York. “I am so proud of this moment, and so honored to finally become an American citizen,” said 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.”
Following his critically acclaimed debut album, 1988’s The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, Rick was sent to prison in 1990 after shooting his cousin in self-defense. Following his release in 1998, he quickly hit the studio recording tracks with Will Smith (“So Fresh“) and OutKast (“Da Art of Storytellin’“). However, after performing on an international cruise in 2001 he would be arrested by the INS as as he re-entered the United States through Florida, on the grounds that he had “deported himself” via the cruise. Rick would then spend years fighting these charges (which included a nearly two-year stint in prison). Eventually, in 2008 then-New York Governor David Paterson would be pardoned for the shooting, which would pave the way for Rick to apply for and receive his American citizenship.
Slick Rick is now a dual citizen of both the United States and the United Kingdom. And the DopeHouse is sure that he could not be more ecstatic. Congrats!