Slick Rick Becomes a U.S. Citizen

Pablo Frisk
Slick Rick photographed after officially becoming a U.S. citizen on April 15, 2016 in New York City.

Hip-hop legend Slick Rick is finally receiving U.S. citizenship. The iconic rapper -- born in England, but raised from the age of 11 in the Bronx -- has been dealing with issues related to his status on American soil for more than two decades. That ended Friday morning (April 15) when he was sworn in in a ceremony in New York City.

“I am so proud of this moment and so honored to finally become an American citizen,” Slick Rick said in a statement to Billboard. “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.”

Rick's debut album, The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, was released in 1988 and established him as one of the premier storytellers of the nascent genre. But before he was able to release his second LP, The Ruler's Back, he pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted murder in the self-defense shooting of his cousin Mark Plummer -- who had previously served as a bodyguard for Rick's mother -- and another bystander in New York. He would end up serving five years for the incident, but upon his release he had several issues over his status in the States. After a performance on a cruise ship that was sailing in the Caribbean, Rick was detained in Florida and threatened with deportation due to his prior prison sentence, eventually spending 17 months in jail before ultimately being released.