21 Savage arrested by ICE, may be deported to the United Kingdom


Atlanta fought hard to be recognized on the hip-hop scene. However, at Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta, Southernplayalisticadillac funky music is a side dish to Maroon 5’s halftime show.

Rapper 21 Savage has been taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Spokesman Bryan Cox told the USA TODAY Network that the 26-year-old musician, who was born Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, is in federal immigration custody following a “targeted operation” in Atlanta on Sunday. 

Cox said Abraham-Joseph, who is a British citizen, overstayed his visa that expired in July 2006 after legally entering the U.S. a year earlier at age 12. The rapper was subsequently convicted on felony charges in 2014.

“In addition to being in violation of federal immigration law, Mr. Abraham-Joseph was convicted on felony drug charges in October 2014 in Fulton County, Georgia,” Cox said.

Abraham-Joseph was in Atlanta over the weekend for the Super Bowl, even performing during the Bud Light Super Bowl Music Fest just days before his arrest. He’s nominated for two awards at the Grammys, which will take place Feb. 10. 

Related: Rappers 21 Savage, Lil Pump spend their holidays apologizing for bigoted lyrics

Cox added that Abraham-Joseph will face removal proceedings in federal immigration court.

In a statement to USA TODAY, Abraham-Joseph’s attorney Dina LaPolt said: “We are working diligently to get Mr. Abraham-Joseph out of detention while we work with authorities to clear up any misunderstanding. Mr. Abraham-Joseph is a role model to the young people in the country – especially in Atlanta, Georgia, and is actively working in the community leading programs to help underprivileged youths in financial literacy.” 

USA TODAY has reached out to ICE and Abraham-Joseph’s representative for comment. 

The rapper has long been considered an Atlanta native. He collaborated with Atlanta-based artists Gucci Mane and Zaytoven for the song “East Atlanta Day,” in which he rapped that Glenwood Road was the place where he “got his first stripe” at age 13.

21 Savage released his debut “Issa Album” in 2017, which included his single “Bank Account.” In the song, the artist rapped that he’s “straight up out the 6,” a reference to Zone 6 in East Atlanta.

Later that year, 21 Savage was featured on Post Malone’s hit single “Rockstar,” which is nominated for record of the year and best rap/sung collaboration at the Grammy Awards. He also released the joint album “Without Warning” with Offset and Metro Boomin in October 2017.

In December 2018, he distributed his second album, “I Am > I Was,” which features J. Cole, Schoolboy Q and Lil Baby.

Contributing: Travis Dorman in Knoxville and The Associated Press

List: 2019 Grammy Awards nominations


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