21 Savage Opens Up After ICE Arrest: 'I'm Not Leaving Atlanta Without a Fight'

By

Following his detention by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, rapper 21 Savage is opening up about his possible deportation and his plans for the future.

The rapper, whose real name is She'yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, sat down for an interview with The New York Times, published on Sunday, where he said he plans on doing whatever he can to remain with his loved ones in Atlanta.

"I got three kids, my mama, everything that I know is here in Atlanta. I’m not leaving Atlanta without a fight," the "A Lot" rapper told the publication. "We gon’ fight all the way till the last day even if that mean I sit in jail for 10 years."

The 26-year-old artist was arrested by immigration officers on Feb. 3, who claimed he was an "unlawfully present United Kingdom national" and that he'd overstayed his visa, which expired in 2006 when he was a teenager. He spent nine days incarcerated in an ICE detainment facility before being released on $100,000 bond.

His time behind bars forced him to miss appearing at this year's GRAMMY Awards, where he was set to take the stage with Post Malone for a performance of their collaboration, "Rockstar."

However, 21 Savage said missing the GRAMMYs was not one of his major concerns when he was still locked up.

"I was stressed about getting out. The GRAMMYs is the GRAMMYs, but when you in jail, the GRAMMYs is nothing," he explained. "I got to watch it. By that time they had put a TV in my room."

During Malone's set, where he ended up performing alongside the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the artist wore a shirt featuring 21 Savage's name in white letters, and the rapper said he "felt like I was there."

"Everybody in that building who’s connected to this culture, I was on their mind in some type of way. That’s all that mattered," he added. "They didn’t have to say it ’cause everybody knew it. It was in the air. All the people that was there, they said the words in other places and that matter just as much. All the big artists was vocal about the situation, so I was appreciative."

The artist, who said he grew up in "the poor side of London," came to America when he was 6-years-old, and has lived here for two decades, during which time his accent subsided and he carved out his place in the Atlanta rap scene.

Over the last four years, he became one of the genre's most prominent up-and-coming artists. Along the way, he welcomed three kids -- two sons and a daughter -- and made close relationships tying him to this community.

The rapper said that he first realized the delicate nature of his legal status around the time he wanted to get his driver's license and was unable to. While he wanted to get things fixed, the situation "felt impossible."

"It got to the point where I just learned to live without it," he explained, adding that being forced to leave the country that's been his home for nearly as long as he can remember has been his "worst nightmare."

Therefore, after being detained by ICE, 21 Savage said that being in jail wasn't nearly as stressful as "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, '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.

Recently, 21 Savage sat down with Good Morning America to discuss his immigration case, and the rapper, along with his high-powered lawyer, said they felt ICE targeted the artist for a variety of possible reasons.

Check out the video below to hear more from 21 Savage about his fears of deportation and how he managed to stay calm and collected during his time in an ICE detention facility.

RELATED CONTENT:

Jay-Z Hires Attorney For 21 Savage, Calls ICE Arrest 'An Absolute Travesty'

21 Savage's Lawyers Clarify His Immigration Status, Confirms He Was Born in the U.K.

Rapper 21 Savage Arrested by ICE in Atlanta