New York, NY – After a 23-year legal battle, Slick Rick has been granted United States citizenship, according to Rolling Stone.

The London-born rapper became an official American citizen today (April 15) at a New York ceremony with dozens of other new American citizens.

“I am so proud of this moment – and so honored to finally become an American citizen,” the rapper says in a statement. “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 former Def Jam Recordings artist will maintain dual citizenship with his native United Kingdom. He is also now able to travel overseas in order to perform.

Slick Rick’s status in the United States became an issue because of his 1991 guilty plea to two counts of attempted murder and related weapons charges after he shot his cousin Mark Plummer and an innocent bystander. Plummer had allegedly been attempting to extort the rapper. Both Plummer and the bystander survived the shooting.

The rapper served six years in prison and completed his parole in 2000, but was still facing deportation prior to the completion of his parole.

Slick Rick was pardoned of the crimes in 2008 by then-New York Governor David Paterson, who said that Slick Rick was “a symbol of rehabilitation.”