21 Savage speaks with New York Times on being an undocumented immigrant, the memes and more.
21 Savage is fresh off his release from ICE's custody after being locked up in their detention center for nine days. The rapper's arrest sparked a nationwide conversation surrounding undocumented immigrants and the harsh immigration policies put in place under the Trump administration. In an interview with New York Times, the rapper spoke about growing up as an undocumented immigrant, the memes, and his fight to stay in Atlanta.
21 Savage spoke candidly about his status as an undocumented immigrant. The rapper's been in America for 20 years at this point but he explained how the process of getting his citizenship was difficult and ultimately led him to give up on the process.
"It felt impossible," he said. "It got to the point where I just learned to live without it. ’Cause I still ain’t got it, I’m 26, and I’m rich. So, just learned to live without it."
Despite his celebrity status, the rapper explained that money didn't change the way he was treated. In the grand scheme of things, he respects it.
"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," he said.
However, he does understand the importance of his case.
“My situation is important ’cause I represent poor black Americans and I represent poor immigrant Americans. You gotta think about all the millions of people that ain’t 21 Savage that’s in 21 Savage shoes,” he said.
While many called for the rapper's freedom, being locked up wasn't his biggest concern. The rapper said that he was haunted by the possibility of leaving Atlanta.
"All that just going through your head, like, 'Damn, 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?' That’s the most important thing," he said.
Adding, "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."
The rapper also spoke on the memes that emerged following his arrest. Despite the humorous take on the serious subject, the rapper said that he still appreciates the love that he got.
"All the big artists was vocal about the situation, so I was appreciative. Even the memes," he said. "Some of them was funny — I ain’t gonna lie."