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21 Savage Arrested By ICE & May Be Deported

The rapper recently addressed immigration issues on his J. Cole-assisted single, “a lot.”

UPDATE 2/11/19: TMZ reports that 21 Savage has been released on bond pending his deportation hearing.


UPDATE 2/4/19: In statement provided to multiple outlets, 21 Savage’s attorney Charles H. Kuck claimed that he was denied bail in his case. According to Huck, 21 was arrested “based upon incorrect information about prior criminal charges.” The rapper has had a pending U-Visa application (as the victim of a crime) since 2017, and his immigration status has never been a secret to the government. A lengthier statement released later clarified that 21 first arrived in the US at seven years old, several years before his 2005 Visa. It also denied ICE’s previous claims that 21 has a felony conviction.

“ICE has not charged Mr. Abraham-Joseph with any crime,” the statement says. “As a minor, his family overstayed their work visas, and he, like almost two million other children, was left without legal status through no fault of his own. This is a civil law violation, and the continued detention of Mr. Abraham-Joseph serves no other purpose than to unnecessarily punish him and try to intimidate him into giving up his right to fight to remain in the United States. He rose above the difficult circumstances of his youth to achieve success and make contributions to our society that rival any of those by a natural born citizen. Mr. Abraham-Joseph has US citizen children that he supports and is eligible for relief from deportation. We and he will fight for his release, for his family, and his right to remain in our country. No one would expect less from him.”

See below for original story.


Rapper 21 Savage has been arrested by US Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers in Atlanta, multiple sources confirm, and may face deportation. The rapper, whose artistic identity and public persona are closely tied to Atlanta, reportedly came to the U.S. in July 2005 on a non-immigrant visa, which expired one year later. He is 26 years old, and would have been 12 at the time of his arrival. ICE identified him as a “UK national.” Although some reports list his country of origin as the Caribbean commonwealth of Dominica, a former British colony, The Daily Mail later shared his alleged birth certificate, showing he was born in east London to two UK citizens.

The rapper’s manager, Kei Henderson, hinted at the arrest on Twitter earlier today, although she didn’t directly confirm the news:

21’s arrest comes just days after he released the music video for “a lot” featuring J. Cole, where he addresses the ICE-directed family separation policy at the US/Mexico border:

Been through some things, but I couldn’t imagine, my kids stuck at the border
Flint still need water
Niggas was innocent, couldn’t get lawyers

21, real name Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, frequently references Atlanta in his music, particularly the city’s Zone 6. He repped Zone 6 during his 2016 XXL Freshman cypher, rapping:

Bitch I’m from the hood (yeah)
Zone 6, Bouldercrest Road, you can’t go there

More recently, he’s referenced Zone 6 on songs like “Mad Stalkers,” “4L,” and “10 Freaky Girls.”

In a statement to CNN reporter Nick Valencia, an ICE spokesperson claimed that 21 Savage’s “whole public persona is false.” However, 21 has evidently spent at least half his life in the US, and the stated reason for his deportation proceedings include the crimes for which he’s been convicted.

The news is sure to come as a shock to fans, as the rapper has been closely associated with Atlanta throughout his career. In a 2017 interview with Genius, he explained how his tough upbringing in Atlanta had inspired his lyrics:

In a statement to TMZ, 21 Savage’s lawyer said they are “working diligently to get Mr. Abraham-Joseph out of detention while we work with authorities to clear up any misunderstanding. Mr. Abraham-Joseph is a role model to the young people in the country—especially in Atlanta, Georgia and is actively working in the community leading programs to help underprivileged youths in financial literacy.”

Catch up on all the lyrics to 21 Savage’s “a lot” featuring J. Cole on Genius now.

This article has been updated with information about 21 Savage’s nationality.

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