Slick Rick Is Officially a United States Citizen & Hints That the Ruler May Be Back

It’s hard to believe considering the tremendous contributions he’s made to Hip-Hop culture, which is a divinely American creation, but Slick Rick has never been a citizen of the United States of America, until now. The English-born Ricky Walters has spent more than two decades embroiled in a highly contested legal battle with government agencies in an effort to attain American citizenship, but the battle is now over and Rick the Ruler is the victor. Earlier today (April 15), he was officially sworn in at a formal ceremony in New York City, effectively making him one of the great American storytellers.


Heads may recall that back in 2001, the “Children’s Story” rapper was apprehended by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) after entering the United States on a cruise ship, allegedly without proper documentation. Because of a previous criminal record including charges of attempted murder, he was taken into custody and would eventually go on to spend more than a year behind bars, but his troubles didn’t end then. In 2006, he became the focus of a deportation plan by the Department of Homeland Security, but all was settled two years later when New York’s Governor David Paterson granted him a full pardon on his attempted murder charges, leaving him with full privileges in the pursuit of citizenship.

In a statement shared by Rolling Stone, Slick Rick says of today’s development “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.” Whether this is a hint at new music is unclear, but fans are surely ready for a follow-up to 1999’s The Art of Storytelling.

Related: Prodigy Gives Away An Album Bundle Featuring Ghostface, Slick Rick, KRS-One & DJ Premier