Here we go....
Walters entered the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident in April 1976. In 1991 he was convicted for several firearm offenses and attempted murder. Subsequently, he was charged by the INS with deportability. Walters argued before an Immigration Judge that his deportability should be waived under the five-year bar. The five-year bar states that any individual who serves less than five years in jail is eligible to have their deportability waived. But, if an aggravated felon serves more than five years in prison he cannot have his deportability waived. An Immigration Judge granted Rick's relief application and adjusted his status to that of a lawful permanent resident.
One month later the New York corrections authority alerted the INS that Rick actually served more than five years in prison and thus was barred from utilizing the five-year exception. On March 26, 1997 the Board of Immigration Appeals, based on Rick's statutory ineligibility ordered him deported. Rick remained in the country for several years even though there existed an order of deportation. In May of '02, Rick departed the U.S., which had the legal effect of executing his 1997 deportation order. Rick attempted to reenter the U.S. at the port of Miami (no Rick Ross) and the INS denied him admission and instituted a removal proceeding against him. A judge in Florida ordered him removed based on his criminal conviction as well as his prior departure which acted as a deportation. This is where the case gets tricky and involves jurisdictional issues. I'll spare you the mundane details. Basically, Rick appealed the Florida decision to the District Court and the District Court granted his appeal. The U.S. appealed and argued that the REAL ID Act of 2005 eliminates District Court habeus review and Rick must seek review in an appropriate Circuit Court. I can continue but the story remains the same. Rick keeps bouncing from court to court due to legislation continually being passed in the wake of 9/11. Unfortunately, under tightened immigration laws passed under the watchful eye of Premier Bush, the odds of Rick remaining in the U.S. are slim and none. But you never know.
The Village Voice recently published an interesting article detailing Rick’s legal woes, current life and his overall resignation with the state of his immigration case. But in between court dates and appeals Rick's been sneaking a concert or two in for his devoted fans. Last February at the Knitting Factory Rick held one of those pre-deportation affairs that brought out all the well-wishers and nostalgia seekers. Last time I caught Rick he opened for Ghostface. He appeared extremely hesitant and disconnected with the large and younger crowd assembled for Starks. In a recent interview Rick discussed having a hard time performing for people under 25 saying “let the kids entertain the kids. Let adults entertain adults. And the kids who are ahead of their time will come to a mature audience.”
The Knitting Factory provided a perfectly sized venue and enough post twenty-five year-olds and kids ahead of their time to properly receive Rick's intelligent and charismatic party music. When introducing Lick the Balls, Rick said with a smirk “no disrespect ladies, it’s just a song.” Of course Rick delivered it with charm and a smile, turning the song’s mischievous nature into a party anthem. Halfway through the set Rick, for the first and only time, briefly talked about the status of his immigration case and prompted the crowd to “pray for me, motherfuckers!”
Along the way Rick engaged the audience in something of a Pepsi challenge. The premise of the bit was to compare today’s songs with hip-hop songs of old. I’m assuming Rick’s main goal was to lead everyone to the conclusion that today’s hits are not up to snuff with the songs produced during the golden age of hip-hop. The first song played was ‘We Fly High’ by Jim Jones. As the song rolled along the crowd shouted Ballin’ with glee and Rick pantomimed the infamous jump shot. As the song came to an end Rick looked at the crowd with a giant smirk on his face and exclaimed, “that was good, I like it!” I’m not sure if he actually liked the song or was making fun of the crowd for getting so amped. Rick combated ‘Ballin’ with ‘Jump Around’ by House of Pain. As expected Rick and the crowd jumped around like a bunch of crazed fools. Next up was Chicken Noodle Soup v. Time 4 Sum Askhun. The bout ended before it began with "The Moby Dick of Dopeness" winning in a landslide. Rick played another set of songs before he concluded his empirical study with a laugh. After pondering his selections I’m not sure if Rick was trying to point out that today's hit songs aren't that different from hit songs of old? Maybe Rick was fucking with the crowd and busting on our taste in music? In the end I'm going to chalk it up to a little of both.
This time around Rick was backed by a live band, the Adam Deitch Project. It’s safe to say that Rick sounded ten-times better backed by a live band as opposed to rolling with only a DJ. More hip-hop artists need to bite the bullet and embrace the live band concept. All you have to do is call up some hired guns like the Adam Deitch project. Hand the band a sheet with all the songs you plan on performing and they'll show up ready to roll. Hell, I'll hire the band. I’ll use my bloging profits to offset any extra costs incurred. The ease of this process was evidenced by Rick as he introduced the band--he couldn’t remember some of their names. It was obvious he barely rehearsed with the band if he rehearsed at all. This is why I was all the more surprised when the band sounded so cohesive in reproducing every classic beat. At one point Rick looked back at the band and flashed a big grin in amazement. This time his smile was one hundred percent genuine. Even Rick’s DJ got in the act instructing both drummers like a (beat) conductor. Slick Rick live is a redundant proposition. You're presented with the same songs in relatively the same order wrapped up in a nice forty-minute package. No matter how bland and unimaginative that sounds, Rick's charisma keeps the house packed.
Slick Rick @ Knitting Factory - Mona Lisa