Rapper 21 Savage (real name: Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph) was arrested by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Sunday, February 3, In Touch can confirm. ICE claims that they had been investigating the 26-year-old hip-hop star’s status in the United States.
“Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph was arrested in a targeted operation early Sunday in the Atlanta area,” ICE confirmed to In Touch in a statement.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, ICE is claiming that the “Bank Account” rapper is actually a United Kingdom citizen who has overstayed his visa in America. Bryan Cox, ICE spokesperson, told the AJC that Abraham-Joseph has been “unlawfully present” in the states. He entered the states on a visa in July 2005, but the visa expired the following year. Abraham-Joseph is now in “removal proceedings before the federal immigration courts,” and he is facing deportation.
Abraham-Joseph has maintained a persona as a rapper from Atlanta, and just last August, he even donated free school supplies for 2,500 DeKalb County students. He has long been considered a hometown act in Atlanta, and he just performed in the city on Thursday, January 31, during the Super Bowl Music Fest at State Farm Arena.
He first rose to fame in 2015 with his debut mixtape, “The Slaughter Tape.” He then quickly became one of the biggest hip-hop acts in the country, and he even earned two Grammy award nominations at this year’s ceremony. His most recent album, I Am > I Was, was released in December 2018 and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Chart. In the days leading up to his arrest, Abraham-Joseph was promoting the music video release for his latest hit single, “a lot” featuring J. Cole on social media.
In 2017, Abraham-Joseph made an appearance on Complex‘s hip-hop debate show “Everyday Struggle” where he claimed only rappers from Atlanta can make trap music. “Trap is some Atlanta s–t… Me, Thug, Future, Migos, 2 Chainz,” he said. “You gotta be from Atlanta. Atlanta is some trap s–t. Trap is some Atlanta s–t… It’s not about the beat, it’s about what you’re saying.”
21 Savage’s attorney, Dina LaPolt, said in a statement to In Touch on Monday, February 4: “We are working diligently to get Mr. Abraham-Joseph out of detention while we work with the authorities to clear up any misunderstandings. Mr. Abraham-Joseph is a role model to the young people in this country, especially in Atlanta, Georgia, and is actively working in the community — leading programs to help underprivileged youths in financial literacy.”