The spring of 2016 will be a personal moment in hip-hop history for rap pioneer Slick Rick. After a 23-year protracted legal process, it was announced today (April 15) that the Grammy-nominated rapper has officially become a citizen of the U.S.

“I am so proud of this moment – and so honored to finally become an American citizen,” Slick Rick said in an official press release regarding the announcement.

Slick Rick, born Ricky Martin Lloyd Walters, hails from the U.K. and came to America at the age of 11. While he's known for his music, the rapper was plagued by negativity during his career when he was convicted of attempted murder and weapons charges for shooting his cousin in 1991 and served five years in prison.

The U.S. government tried to give the British-born MC the boot many times for the felony, and in 2002, Rick was arrested on a docked Caribbean cruise ship and spent a year behind bars. Again in 2008, the Immigration and Naturalization Service tried to say his felony prevented him from living peacefully in the U.S. It took a pardon from New York Governor David Paterson to confirm that The Ruler could stay. The pardon became official today.

“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.”

The talented “La-Di-Da-Di” producer and performer is one of the most iconic names in hip-hop. Teaming up with beatboxer Doug E. Fresh and the Get Fresh Crew in 1984, Slick Rick's original linguistic style is revered as a game-changer for the genre. His narrative rap game shines brightest on his '80s singles "Children's Story" and "The Show," and he's known as one of the most sampled MC's in hip-hop history.

Slick Rick now has dual citizenship in the U.S. and U.K. Congratulations to the Ruler!

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