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Image via Slick Rick

You’d be forgiven for thinking Slick Rick was an American. He’s one of hip-hop’s founding fathers, and penned some of the hits that helped bring rap to the mainstream—”Children’s Story,” “Mona Lisa,” “La Di Da Di”—the list goes on.

Slick Rick moved to the Bronx when he was 11, and has been based in the U.S. ever since. But his career hit a massive roadblock in 1989, when his bodyguard (and cousin) began extorting and threatening the rapper and his mother. Slick Rick retaliated and ended up in prison for attempted murder. He served five years just as his career was taking off.

What’s worse, Slick Rick’s checkered past continued to haunt him after his release in 1996. According to a press release, Rick was repeatedly threatened with deportation, and spent additional years in a deportation lock up, despite his clean record post-conviction.

The drama ends today. Slick Rick is officially an American citizen, ending a long, sordid tug-of-war with the American legal system. “I am so proud of this moment – and so honored to finally become an American citizen,” said Slick Rick after being sworn in. “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.”

Congratulations to Slick Rick. It’s been a long time coming.

Image via Tumblr

Image via Tumblr