While he still rocks the party every now and then, it has been years since Ricky Martin Lloyd Walters (aka Slick Rick) has caused trouble or bothered anybody. That said, the Grammy-nominated rapper seems to have put a 1990 shooting that was ultimately determined to be in self-defense, and other run-ins with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), firmly behind him.
In 2008, Rick was issued a rare unconditional pardon for his past transgressions by then-New York State Governor David Paterson. And today, more than a quarter century after the incident that landed him in jail on second-degree murder charges, the London-born rapper became a bona fide American citizen.
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Rick, whose trademark eye-patch covers a right eye that was blinded by broken glass when he was just an infant, moved from Mitcham, London to the Bronx, NY when he was 11 years old. Despite spending most of his life in the United States, he never managed to obtain full citizenship and was nearly deported on several different occasions.
Best-known for his debut album — The Great Adventures of Slick Rick (1988) — and his triumphant, post-prison record The Art of Storytelling (1999), Rick has left a substantial impression on the hip-hop game and was one of the pioneers of narrative-based hip-hop, sometimes called “story rap.”
Said Walters “I am so proud of this moment — and so honored to finally become an American citizen. 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.”
Hmmm. Does that mean an album or tour is on the way?
Make sure to heed Rick’s words and “stay tuned” for updates.