Atlanta rapper 21 Savage has been a prevalent figure in hip-hop for some time now. Akin to many new-generation rappers, Savage has had his fair share of issues with the law. However, the emcee (real name Shéyaa Abraham-Joseph) has experienced some troubles that spawned revelations.
21 Savage was a member of XXL’s 2016 class.
Many old-school figures considered that year’s offerings an abomination to hip-hop, and the culture ended up dubbing it the “slow class”. Comprising of Lil Yachty, Lil Uzi Vert, 21 Savage and Kodak, to name a few, the lyrical ability of the acts was considered subpar.
However, regardless of what critics had to say, the emcees maintained a solid fanbase and continued to grow, including Joseph. In 2019, the Atlanta act was held in an ICE immigration detention centre. As his unfortunate predicament played out, fans discovered Savage was, in fact, born in the UK.
Born in Plaistow with West Indian roots and family from St Vincent, Dominica and Haiti, the rapper moved to the US when he was seven and considered himself an Atlanta native. However, after returning to the UK for his uncle’s funeral, he returned to America on an H-4 visa, but following its expiration, he remained.
When Joseph got detained, billionaire Brooklyn artist Jay-Z provided Joseph with a lawyer who helped him get released. The US Immigration And Customs Enforcement (ICE) insisted the Atlanta musician was “unlawfully present” in the country. In an interview with Math Hoffa, Savage explained, “They detained me because they said I had felony conviction, but the felony conviction got dismissed. And I called Meek while I was in jail and told Meek, ‘Bro, I just got locked up.’ He called Jay-Z, and Jay-Z put a lawyer on my case. He played a role in getting me out. He ain’t just doing that shit for anybody.”
Joseph has a lot of music in his career, including his joint album with Drake in 2022, Her Loss. The emcee has remained loyal to the Atlanta hip-hop and Southern rap scenes more broadly. He has made music with the likes of Lil Baby, Gunna and Offset of the Migos. However, one of his most famous songs is alongside his fellow Atlanta counterpart Future. Their 2016 track ‘X’ produced by Metro Boomin was a platinum-selling record and is a true Atlanta hip-hop specimen. You can hear the isolated vocals for the song in the video below.