He’s speaking out. Rapper 21 Savage spoke with The New York Times on Sunday, February 17, about his possible deportation, and was asked about his detention and the uncertainty surrounding his case. He said it “really wasn’t jail” that bothered him, “It was the possibility of me not being able to live in this country no more that I’ve been living in my whole life. All that just going through your head, like, ‘D–n, I love my house, I ain’t gonna be able to go in my house no more? I ain’t gonna be able to go to my favorite restaurant that I been going to for 20 years straight?’” He added, “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.”
The rapper was arrested by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement on February 3. ICE claims that 21 Savage (real name: Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph) is actually a United Kingdom citizen who has overstayed his visa in America. “Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph was arrested in a targeted operation early Sunday in the Atlanta area,” ICE confirmed to In Touch in a statement at the time. Now, he’s been placed in “removal proceedings before the federal immigration courts,” with a federal judge set to “determine future actions,” Us Weekly reported.
The New York Times asked the rapper whether he was aware of the possibility that he might not be able to stay in the country at some point, and he replied, “Yeah, for sure. It’s like my worst nightmare. That’s why it’s always been trying to get corrected.” And when it comes to the finances involved in the process, he added, “Even if you got money, it ain’t easy. It ain’t no favoritism, and I respect it, I honestly respect it. It would be kind of messed up if they treated rich immigrants better than poor immigrants, I think.”
The “Monster” singer moved to the U.S. when he was 7, but left in 2005 for an uncle’s funeral, Us Weekly reported. He returned in July of that year. Now he says, “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.”