Fans welcomed Atlanta rapper 21 Savage home with open arms last week after he was finally freed from the detainment jaws of the U.S. Immigration and Enforcement Agency and returned to his family and friends on a $100,000 bond.
Bum-rushed with a bevy of publications gunning for his first post-incarceration interview, The New York Times was fortunate enough to nab an opportunity to sit down with the I Am > I Was artist to discuss the controversies surrounding his ICE arrest. From his U.K. nativity to the support (or what some fans considered lack thereof) of his industry family, Savage dished on his innermost feelings towards it all while battling the government’s notorious immigration system. He even shared his thoughts toward the controversial memes that spurred in light of the news, which resulted in a Twitter cancellation of one of his fellow industry counterparts and an Instagram war between two others: Offset and Chris Brown.
Presumably, the ones referencing a British spin on his current trap artistry. “Some of them was funny — I ain’t gonna lie,” he said. “I was appreciative of that. I coulda been another person who just, ‘He locked up? Damn,’ and nobody said nothing.” Without naming specific names, he did understand some folks’ frustration with the memes though, he continued. For them, it was the principle of the matter, he suggested. Besides, 21 has weathered far more critical experiences to allow one from internet culture to get too deep under his skin. “But I been through way worse things in my life than somebody putting me on a meme,” he said. “I been shot—what is a meme? A meme is nothing. That’s something on the internet that I can do like this [turns over phone] and never see again. I look at bullet scars every day, so it’s like, a meme, bro?”
The “A Lot” rapper said that there were no hard feelings toward anyone simply for not saying his name. “[Post Malone] wore the 21 Savage shirt, so I felt like I was there,” he said. “I don’t care what nobody say—everybody in that building who’s connected to this culture, I was on their mind in some type of way.” For now, 21’s primary focus seems to be on getting his citizenship situation worked out for the best, as he concluded with NYT that he was in no rush to head to the studio to air out his grievances with the situation. “Not right now,” he said when asked about the urge to embed some of the experience into his music, “’cause I feel like putting it into music got me in this situation, kind of.”
(Photos from left: Prince Williams/Wireimage, Allen Berezovsky/WireImage)