ALPHARETTA, Ga. — At the beginning of the year, 21 Savage was at his commercial apex. His second album, “I Am > I Was,” spent two weeks atop the Billboard album chart. “Rockstar,” his collaboration with Post Malone, was nominated for two Grammys, and he was set to perform at the ceremony.
But now he has a new, perhaps even higher-profile public role: To his supporters, he’s a possible martyr of conscience, under fire for his choice to express his political views in his music.
A week before the Grammys, 21 Savage was arrested in Atlanta and put into removal proceedings by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which said he was an “unlawfully present United Kingdom national” and charged him with overstaying his visa. A week and a half later, he was released on 0,000 bond.
21 Savage — birth name She’yaa bin Abraham-Joseph — was, unknown to most, born in London in 1992, and an undocumented immigrant in the United States. That alone makes him vulnerable to removal by the immigration authorities.
But in an interview earlier this month, two of his attorneys — Dina LaPolt, his general counsel, and Charles Kuck, his immigration attorney — proposed that there might have been political motivations at play.
Three days before 21 Savage’s arrest on Feb. 3, LaPolt was already putting an action plan in motion. “We had heard that they were looking at him,” she said.
In late January, 21 Savage performed a new version of his single “A Lot” on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” with lyrics that touched on the issue of children being separated from their parents at the United States border, a controversial Trump administration tactic to discourage illegal immigration.
“There was scuttlebutt after the Jimmy Fallon show” coming from “some very high levels in Washington,” LaPolt added. What she heard suggested that 21 Savage had ruffled feathers.
And so on the Thursday before the Super Bowl, LaPolt dispatched another attorney from her firm, Danielle Price, to Georgia to accompany 21 Savage back to California, a more immigrant-friendly state with a newly passed sanctuary law. He declined to go until after completing his contractual commitments — a pair of concerts at events surrounding the game — that weekend.
While his case winds its way through the immigration system, 21 Savage’s team has been actively underscoring the political dimension to his plight and marshaling public support. A #Free21Savage coalition of a couple of dozen activist organizations is drawing attention to his situation, and two members of Congress — Hank Johnson and Zoe Lofgren — spoke publicly on his behalf while he was still in detention. Lofgren, from California and chairwoman of the House Judiciary Immigration and Citizenship Subcommittee, released a statement opening the door for 21 Savage to appear as a witness before her subcommittee and floating the idea that he had been arrested as a result of publicly questioning United States immigration policy. “Was his arrest in response to his Constitutionally protected speech?” the statement said. “It looks like that.”
Bryan D. Cox, ICE’s Southern Region Communications Director, said in an email, “We’re not able to give any additional comment on this case.”
Now that 21 Savage has been released on bond, his case moves to a different docket, for those who aren’t detained. The wait for his next hearing could be more than a year. “Time is our friend,” Kuck said. “We want to make sure we can maximize the politics and the process.”
When 21 Savage was in detention, he “tried to refrain from talking to my mama and my kids — I ain’t want them to hear me through the phone,” the rapper said. He did want to speak with his lawyers, however. “I don’t like hopes and none of that,” he said he had told them. “Keep it real.”
Between them, there is an easy rapport. In his music, 21 Savage rarely raps above a whisper, and in person, he was contained and disarmingly calm, speaking forcefully without ever raising his voice. On the day after his release, he was wearing all black, from his Balenciaga jacket to his Prada shoes, and his demeanor was studious. By contrast, his lawyers were sharp-tongued and defiant. While they barked on his behalf, he maintained imperturbable cool.
For now, anyway, they will do much of the speaking. After interviews the day after his release with The New York Times and “Good Morning America,” 21 Savage has gone almost completely silent.
HIP-HOP MYTHOLOGIES are built on regional specificities. More than any other genre in American pop, rap music understands itself as the product of place. 21 Savage’s Atlanta is and has been the center of the genre’s innovation for more than a decade now — the most vital creative hotbed of the most vital American music.
So the knowledge that he initially came from elsewhere served as a useful reminder that this American music, like so many American musics before it, wouldn’t sound the same without immigrants. A quick reminder: Almost all of hip-hop’s founder generation — Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash, Doug E. Fresh — was born in the Caribbean. The island influence continues through today: Last year, Nicki Minaj wrote on Instagram about coming to the United States as an undocumented immigrant from Trinidad and Tobago when she was 5.
Hip-hop has also faced immigration crises before. Slick Rick, one of the most innovative rappers of the late 1980s and early 1990s, was born in England. In 1991, he pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted murder (and other charges) in connection with the 1990 shooting of his former bodyguard. In 2001, he was arrested after performing on a cruise ship that left American waters and put into deportation proceedings, beginning a tug-of-war over his residency until 2008, when he was pardoned by David A. Paterson, then the governor of New York. In 2016, Slick Rick was granted United States citizenship.
In 2009, Shyne — a protégé of Sean Combs — was deported to Belize, where he was born, not long after completing his sentence for attempted murder, assault and reckless endangerment related to the infamous 1999 shooting at Club New York (which also involved Combs and his girlfriend at the time, Jennifer Lopez).
Slick Rick was, at times, a cause célèbre, but largely among the genre’s elders. Shyne became, in essence, collateral damage of late-90s rap excess. But both cases unfolded in far less dramatic moments of the immigration debate. By rapping about the child separation policy, 21 Savage inserted himself directly into a noxious political climate. And while many rappers, from YG to Eminem to Jay-Z, have spoken openly of their contempt for President Trump and his policies, none had as much to lose.
Early in his career, 21 Savage did not immediately appear as a likely candidate for a political agitator. On his earliest mixtapes, he emerged as a coldhearted menace, dulled to the world’s pain. His lyrics were bleak, his attitude bleaker. Over the last couple of years, as he has become increasingly popular, he’s been steadily remaking his public image — a product, he said, of being exposed to more of the world.
“I think financial freedom made me grow as a person,” he said, speaking about his desire to help others. “I did it as soon as I had the resources and the time. ‘Cause when you first start making money, it’s like you still figuring yourself out.”
“But then it’s like, O.K., we a machine now,” he added. “Now we can get everybody else right.”
It was this impulse, LaPolt said, that resonated with her when she was first in discussions to represent 21 Savage last year. “I realized how much he did for the community,” she said, citing his back-to-school drives and interest in spreading financial literacy to underserved populations. “I said to the rest of the team, ‘This needs to be at the forefront of the storytelling.’”
LaPolt is a prominent music industry attorney who was one of the primary engines of the Music Modernization Act, the copyright legislation that was signed into law in October and which, among other things, updates how royalties are paid in the streaming age. When 21 Savage was arrested, she put her Washington connections to work. Johnson, a Congressman from Georgia who had attended a back-to-school drive organized by 21 Savage, wrote a letter of support. Lofgren’s statement came soon after.
On the Sunday of the Grammys ceremony, which 21 Savage ended up watching on a television in his detention-center cell, Kuck called ICE’s toll-free number for detainee information and learned that, unexpectedly, a hearing had been scheduled for Tuesday morning.
NOW THAT 21 SAVAGE has been released from detention, the push to secure his status continues. His legal team has applied for cancellation of removal, which is available to individuals who have been in the United States for more than 10 years, have American citizen family members who rely on them, are of good moral character and have no disqualifying criminal convictions.
In interviews early in his career, 21 Savage spoke frankly about his life before music. “I done sold cocaine, sold crack cocaine,” he told The Fader in 2016. “I never sold, like, a whole brick. I done took bricks.” In 2014 he was arrested, and later convicted, on drug charges. Last year, through a first-offender program, the conviction was removed from public record, though that still had “monstrous immigration consequences,” Kuck said. Subsequently, LaPolt hired the Atlanta-area attorney Abbi S. Taylor, who secured the vacating of the plea and the dismissal of the charges. The file is now sealed. A search for 21 Savage on the Georgia Felon Search website turns up nothing.
In an hour-plus interview, 21 Savage declined to speak only about the particulars of his prior interactions with law enforcement.
When ICE arrested 21 Savage, it stated that he had been convicted of an “aggravated felony” in addition to overstaying his visa. At the hearing where he was granted bond, it formally withdrew that charge.
“Not only does he not have a conviction, but there are no pending charges, there never will be any charges from that, and that case is sealed,” Kuck said, “so it simply never happened.”
But the specter of that case highlights a potential continuing concern: that 21 Savage’s public persona — his art, his social media, his prior public statements — could be leveraged against him. (Public image, and especially lyrical content, have often been used in legal proceedings involving hip-hop artists, as seen recently in the case of 6ix9ine.)
Kuck said that such topics were raised in the first hearing, though, “it didn’t come up in a way that we believe hurt our case.”
“I’m very optimistic,” Kuck added. “I am convinced that we will ultimately obtain permanent residence for him.”
Asked if the uncertainty he still faces causes him anxiety, 21 Savage was blunt: “Hell yeah.”
That he could be used as a political cudgel isn’t lost on anyone, including 21 Savage himself. “He goes, ‘Well, I don’t want Trump to come at me,’ and I go, ‘You’re the last person he’s going to come after,’” LaPolt said. “Who in their right mind is going to come after him and not have a complete backlash?”
But for someone who for most of his life has lived with the permanent uncertainty of the undocumented, he was at his most exultant and confident speaking about not having to fight alone.
“It’s like putting bulletproof glass in front of a bulletproof vest,” 21 Savage said. “I’m going to stand up already, this vest already going to stop any bullet you throw, and y’all going to come help and put some glass in front of it too? This can’t be stopped. We a tank now. We was already the army — now we coming in tanks.”B:
【谢】【谢】【包】【少】【爷】【送】【我】【的】【武】【器】…… 【那】【几】【个】【学】【员】【都】【诧】【异】【的】【看】【着】【他】【们】……【这】【包】【大】【少】【爷】【什】【么】【时】【候】【和】【叶】【家】【的】【那】【个】【废】【柴】【关】【系】【这】【么】【好】【了】，【不】【可】【能】【吧】，【难】【道】【包】【大】【少】【爷】【善】【心】【大】【发】【啦】……？ 【包】【文】【星】【现】【在】【那】【是】【一】【个】【心】【里】【苦】【啊】，【强】【装】【着】【笑】【脸】【说】【道】：【你】【拿】【回】【去】【好】【好】【用】【吧】，【改】【天】【有】【空】【我】【们】【一】【起】【吃】【饭】，【算】【是】【你】【感】【谢】【我】【的】…… 【等】【到】【叶】【修】【走】【后】，【留】【下】【的】
【听】【到】【尖】【叫】【声】【的】【瞬】【间】，【山】【崎】【脑】【海】【中】【顿】【时】【浮】【现】【出】【了】【有】【人】【手】【里】【握】【着】【刀】，【尖】【叫】【着】【朝】【自】【己】【杀】【来】【的】【画】【面】，【以】【至】【于】【他】【在】【瞬】【间】【就】【把】【头】【转】【了】【过】【去】，【手】【中】【握】【着】【咖】【啡】【杯】，【做】【好】【了】【用】【咖】【啡】【杯】【反】【击】【的】【准】【备】。 【然】【而】，【当】【他】【回】【头】【的】【时】【候】，【发】【现】【自】【己】【并】【没】【有】【被】【攻】【击】。 【尖】【叫】【的】【人】，【是】【一】【个】***，【她】【单】【手】【掩】【着】【嘴】，【嘴】【里】【喊】【个】【不】【停】，【手】【指】【指】【着】【前】【方】。
（【求】【订】【阅】，【求】【月】【票】。） 【轰】【隆】【隆】！ 【巨】【浪】【拍】【岸】，【打】【在】【黝】【黑】【的】【礁】【石】【上】，【迸】【溅】【出】【无】【数】【细】【碎】【的】【浪】【花】。 【不】【得】【不】【说】，【这】【处】【无】【人】【沙】【滩】【之】【所】【以】【迟】【迟】【不】【开】【发】，【的】【确】【存】【在】【着】【不】【小】【的】【危】【险】【性】，【至】【少】【眼】【下】【的】【齐】【芸】【菲】，【就】【显】【得】【无】【比】【谨】【慎】，【哪】【怕】【以】【她】【眼】【下】【已】【经】【职】【业】【二】【阶】，【逼】【近】【三】【阶】【的】【体】【魄】，【也】【十】【分】【吃】【力】，【劲】【力】【很】【不】【容】【易】【凝】【聚】，【不】【用】【说】【普】【通】【民】【众】香港生财有黑白图库【楚】【玉】【倒】【了】【一】【杯】【茶】【水】，【递】【道】【了】【德】【妃】【的】【手】【边】： “【额】【娘】，【您】【先】【不】【要】【着】【急】。【您】【叫】【了】【我】【们】【进】【宫】，【那】【里】【就】【是】【您】【的】【错】【了】？ 【这】【不】【是】【皇】【阿】【玛】【忽】【然】【到】【了】【吗】？【孩】【子】【又】【想】【要】【出】【去】。 【您】【莫】【要】【担】【心】，【您】【想】，【皇】【阿】【玛】【抱】【着】【孩】【子】【出】【去】，【又】【有】【谁】【会】【不】【长】【眼】【的】【敢】【伤】【了】【孩】【子】？ 【再】【者】，【皇】【阿】【玛】【既】【然】【抱】【着】【弘】【晖】【出】【去】【了】，【一】【定】【就】【会】【护】【好】【他】【的】，【再】【不】【济】【六】【弟】
【得】【想】【个】【办】【法】【恢】【复】【芙】【拉】【的】【伤】【势】，【吸】【血】【鬼】【的】【力】【量】【来】【源】【于】【血】【液】【里】【的】【生】【命】【力】，【普】【通】【野】【兽】【的】【血】【恐】【怕】【治】【疗】【的】【效】【果】【并】【不】【理】【想】，【人】【血】？【看】【来】【要】【找】【知】【道】【内】【情】【的】【几】【个】【人】【谈】【谈】【献】【血】【工】【程】【了】。 “【要】【是】【她】【醒】【了】，【就】【来】【告】【诉】【我】。”【杨】【凌】【抓】【了】【抓】【自】【己】【的】【手】，【和】【莉】【琳】【说】【了】【下】【便】【离】【开】【了】【房】【间】。 【脚】【步】【匆】【匆】，【离】【开】【房】【间】【的】【杨】【凌】【低】【着】【头】【一】【边】【思】【考】【如】【何】【开】【口】【一】【边】
“【那】【应】【该】【是】【剑】【罡】！”【归】【海】【一】【刀】【长】【刀】【入】【鞘】，【目】【光】【带】【着】【疑】【虑】【看】【向】【那】【白】【发】【青】【年】。 【这】【剑】【法】，【简】【单】【明】【了】，【似】【曾】【相】【识】【啊】。 【余】【沧】【海】【挺】【身】【向】【前】【一】【迈】，【准】【先】【天】【的】【修】【为】【加】【上】【一】【身】【深】【厚】【的】【内】【力】，【倒】【是】【勉】【强】【独】【自】【抗】【住】【了】【陈】【浩】【的】【压】【迫】。 【接】【下】【来】【就】【是】【丢】【石】【头】【了】【吧】。 【呸】……【那】【是】【弹】【指】【神】【通】，【跟】【机】【关】【枪】【似】【的】。 【对】【着】【余】【沧】【海】【开】【始】【不】【断】【的】【点】