21 Savage: The Unsuspecting Brit

By Charlie Norgaard

Any Hip-hop fan has undoubtedly heard of the name 21 Savage.

Since the release of his debut album “Slaughter Gang”, the Atlanta rapper has grown to significant popularity, especially after he delivered his most recent album “I am > I was”.

21 Savage, also known as Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, rose to popularity from both his unique flow and gritty lyricism, which frequently references him growing up in East Atlanta’s Zone 6. The name 21 Savage, refers to the gang he joined at the young age of 15.

His unique backstory and trademark lyricism is a main attraction for many of his fans, but when he was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on February 3rd, his reputation drastically changed.

Ironically, the rapper that had flaunted his violent childhood in the streets East Atlanta, was actually born in the U.K.. Originally born in London, Savage moved to Dominica, an island in the Caribbean, shortly after his birth with his mother and lived there until he moved to the US at the age of six. In 2006, Savage’s parents failed to renew his Visa and has been an illegal resident since then.

As a result, Savage has received an enormous amount of public attention from both major news sources and millions of social media users who have already managed to post hundreds of memes and song parodies mocking Savage as a ‘soft’, British rapper.

While Savage’s arrest caused his reputation to take a major hit, ICE has been under even more pressure. Shortly after his arrest, Savage was sent to “one of the worst immigration detention centers in the U.S.”, where detainees were frequently reported to have been severely mistreated by guards.

Fortunately for Savage, Hip-hop icon and legend, Jay-Z, was quick to act and hired a top-notch legal team to assist Savage in a safe return back to Atlanta. On February 13th, Savage was released from the Georgia detainment center and is now working with officials on securing US citizenship.


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