21 Savage Discusses His Arrest For The First Time (Video)
21 Savage was arrested on February 3 in Atlanta, Georgia. The news shocked the Rap community. Most were unaware that the artist also known as Shéyaa Bin Abraham-Joseph was born in the United Kingdom, prompting additional surprise when officials stated he was living in the United States illegally. The timing of the events raised eyebrows, given 21’s recent success and musical content. During his detainment, 21 Savage missed a scheduled performance at the Grammy Awards alongside “rockstar” collaborator Post Malone.
On February 12, 21 was released from Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s custody and got to see his family, including the 26-year-old artist’s three children, for the first time in nine days. Also within those earliest hours of freedom, the Slaughter Gang artist spoke with ABC’s Linsey Davis for Good Morning America, and detailed the circumstances surrounding his arrest.
“I was just driving, and I just seen guns and blue lights. And, then [before long], I was in the back of a car, and I was gone,” he says in the interview. “They didn’t say nothing. [The ICE officers] just said, ‘We got Savage.’” As for timing, 21 was indifferent about whether his Tonight Show performance, during which he rapped the bar, “Been through some things so I can’t imagine my kids stuck at the border,” (from “a lot”), had anything to do with his arrest just days later.
“My lawyers think so,” 21 replies, when asked if the content of his lyrics made him an ICE target. “I don’t really know. I can’t really say. I would see why people would think that, but I really can’t say.” On his immigration status, 21 was in the process of obtaining a U-visa to remain in the United States. When he entered the country, reportedly at the age of seven, he didn’t understand that he needed to renew documentation after his visa expired. “I didn’t even know what a visa was,” he admits. “I was seven when I came here. I knew I wasn’t born, here but I didn’t know what that meant as far as transitioning into an adult.”
As for his detainment, 21 Savage questioned why he was housed with murderers and other violent offenders. He described being housed in one room for an entire day but claims that it’s only one of the hardships he’s endured in his life. “I feel like I done been through so much in my life, like, I learned to embrace the times when I’m down, ’cause they always build me up and take me to a new level in life.”
21 Savage was released on a $100,000 bond Tuesday. At present, he still faces deportation and claims becoming a U.S. citizen is his first priority. It was previously reported that JAY-Z and Roc Nation provided the rapper with a powerful legal team. Alex Spiro, one of 21’s lead attorneys claims ICE was sending a message to both people in America with a troubled legal status and to rappers who speak out against them and their policies. Spiro contends, “Part of the reason, we think [21 Savage was apprehended and detained] is both because he’s a celebrity, and they can use this as a way to send a message, and also, perhaps, because of his music.”