On Super Bowl Sunday, 21 Savage’s arrest sparked a media firestorm. The famed Atlanta rapper was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement after it was discovered that he was residing in the United States on an expired visa. The arrest completely shocked fans, because most assumed that 21 Savage was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. However, it has been confirmed that the “Issa” rapper — whose real name is She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph — was in fact born in the United Kingdom.
21 Savage was jailed for 10 days at the Irwin County Detention Center in South Georgia before he was released on a $100,000 bond on February 13. Now that 21 Savage has been released from jail, he’s speaking out to share his reaction to the arrest.
During an interview with the New York Times, 21 Savage recalled his childhood — admitting that he remembered when his family relocated to the United States. 21 Savage revealed that his family was from the poorer side of London. He also offered a comparison of life at his grandmother’s home in London to life in the United States. Although he lived in poverty in both locations, he simply referred to the United States as “bigger.”
“Everything was like, bigger. I come from the poor side of London. My grandma house is real skinny. So when we first moved here, we was living in the hood still, but it was, like, way bigger,” adding, “It’s all I know.”
Since 21 Savage’s arrest made headlines, tons of memes have been circulating on social media. The most popular memes capture 21 Savage with a British accent. During the interview, 21 Savage was asked if there was a time in his life when he had an accent. He admitted that he actually did. In fact, 21 Savage recalled being bullied during his first day of school when he first arrived in Atlanta. “Yeah, I had a accent, ’cause my first day of school they was making fun of me so I beat somebody up, and they was calling me ‘taekwondo kid.'”
He went on to detail the personal struggles his mother faced as an immigrant. Not only did they live in poverty, but they also struggled to survive because they were unable to qualify for government benefits like other U.S. citizens. 21 Savage admitted that he quickly learned “how to live without.” He also admitted that growing up poor taught him the importance of improvisation. The famed rapper offered an example of how clothing and fashion trends tend to determine students’ level of popularity in school. However, he learned how to be popular without materialistic possessions.
Over time, 21 Savage’s distinctive accent diminished, making it easier for him to blend in with his new peers. But as he rose to stardom, his private life was thrust into the spotlight — and it didn’t take long for authorities to discover the truth. However, 21 Savage has made it clear that he’s not going down without a fight. He passionately explained why he’d rather be broke or in jail rather than leave the only place he’s ever referred to as “home.”
“If you tell me, ‘I’ll give you 20 million to go stay somewhere you ain’t never stayed,’ I’d rather be broke. I’ll sit in jail to fight to live where I’ve been living my whole life,” he said. “I got three kids, my mama, everything that I know is here in Atlanta. I’m not leaving Atlanta without a fight. We gon’ fight all the way till the last day even if that mean I sit in jail for 10 years.”
With the help of Jay-Z, 21 Savage is ready to fight this legal battle all the way to the end. At this point, there is no indication of how things will turn out, but this legal battle may be a protracted one.