Slick Rick becomes U.S. citizen

Jordin Agemy, Feature Reporter

After a 23 year long battle, Grammy nominated rapper Ricky “Slick Rick” Martin Lloyd Walters became an official United States Citizen. Between his trademark storytelling rap style, British accent, eye-patch (worn because of an injury he got during childhood), Kangol hat, layers of gold chains, rings and stylish suits, he was an overnight sensation.

In 1990, at the height of his career, Slick Rick received a prison sentence for the self-defense shooting of his cousin, who was hired as a bodyguard by Rick’s mother and manager at the time, during which a bystander was injured. He received a pardon in 2008 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, and others.

After his release, Slick Rick was threatened with deportation multiple times, and spent several years in a deportation center, even though he never had trouble with the law again. His citizenship will now allow him to stay in the country with family, while also traveling overseas for his career. Rick will become a duel citizen by retaining his citizenship in the United Kingdom.

“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 – and stay tuned, I will have more to announce soon.”

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