After a 23-year legal battle, rap legend Slick Rick is finally a U.S. citizen. The British-born rhymer was sworn in at an official ceremony alongside dozen of other new citizens in New York on Friday (April 15).
Although the 51-year-old rapper was born in England, he was raised in the Bronx, N.Y. since he was 11 years old. Since then, he has been dealing with issues regarding his citizenship in the United States. Rick can now put that behind him.
“I am so proud of this moment – and so honored to finally become an American citizen,” said Rick in a statement (via EW.com). “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.”
That long chapter Rick is referring to is the 1990 incident in which he shot his cousin Mark Plummer, who had previously been a bodyguard for Rick’s mother. During the shooting a bystander was injured. Rick pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted murder and was sentenced to five years in prison for the incident. After he was freed from prison, he faced deportation for the criminal act and spent 17 months in jail, despite never committing another crime.
In 2008, then-New York Governor David Paterson granted Rick a full pardon, clearing the way for the veteran rapper to pursue his American citizenship.
After the ceremony, Rick went on his Instagram account and posted a photo of his famous eye patch emblazoned with the American flag.
Congratulations to Slick Rick on becoming a citizen of the U.S. and retaining his U.K. citizenship. Check out the photos of the Ruler getting his certificate at TMZ.com.