English-born, New York-bred rapper Slick Rick (real name: Ricky Walters) is being held in Bradenton, Fla., by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) after being arrested on board a cruise ship last week, according to a statement released by the rapper’s lawyer.
Rick had been participating in radio DJ Tom Joyner’s Fantastic Voyage 2002, a Caribbean cruise featuring performers such as Erykah Badu, Angie Stone, Earth, Wind & Fire, and the Baha Men. When the boat returned to Miami from its week-long tour to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, the INS arrested Rick — who spent five years in jail in the ’90s for attempted murder in the second degree — on charges of deporting himself and illegally re-entering the U.S.
A hearing on the deportation charges was held last Friday (July 12) in Bradenton, and Rick was denied bail after the judge deemed the rapper a “flight risk.”
Rick, who never became a naturalized U.S. citizen after moving to New York with his family at the age of 11, was granted the right to remain in the U.S. after his jail sentence during a 1995 hearing. But two appeals later, the INS won a court order for the rapper’s deportation back to England. Though the rapper has since appealed that verdict, the INS had an outstanding warrant for his arrest.
His wife, Mandy Aragones, issued a statement pleading for Rick’s release. “All his loved ones are here in America,” she said. “He should be allowed to return to his family in New York while sorting out this matter with INS.”
Rick has released four albums on the Def Jam label, including his classic debut “The Great Adventures of Slick Rick,” which topped Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart in 1989. His latest full-length album was 1999’s “The Art of Storytelling,” which debuted at No. 8 on The Billboard 200. He appears on Morcheeba’s new “Charango” album (Sire/Reprise).