“I was just driving,” he said of his arrest on Feb. 3 on the grounds that he is actually from the United Kingdom and overstayed his visa. “And I just seen guns and blue lights. And then, I was in the back of a car and I was gone. They didn’t say nothing. They just said, ‘We got Savage.'”
Fans were confused in the hours after his arrest, as the rapper has always claimed to be from Atlanta. He was born in England and moved to Atlanta with he was family when he was 7. Apart from one brief visit to the U.K., that’s where he stayed.
“I’ve been in Atlanta probably 20 years, 19 years,” he said. “I’m from Atlanta, in my eyes. I’ve been here 20 years.”
Savage said advice from his mother helped him to cope with his incarceration. “‘Visualize yourself, whatever you wanna do, just close your eyes and visualize yourself doing that. And as long as you do that, you will never be in jail,’” he recalled her saying.
He was also highly critical of the Trump Administration’s immigration-enforcement policies. “I don’t feel like you should be arrested and put in a place where a murderer would be for just being in the country for too long,” he said. “I don’t think the policy is broken, I think the way they enforce the policy is broken.” He promised to use his platform to publicize the plight of others.
“I feel your pain, and I’m gonna do everything in my power to try and bring awareness to your pain,” he said.
The rapper was released from ICE’s Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Ga. Wednesday, pending a deportation hearing. He is also seeking to resolve a matter with a club owner in which he was paid for a 2016 concert but did perform. According to TMZ, the club owner filed a police report and filed paperwork to pursue felony theft by deception, but police never acted on it. After Savage was arrested, the owner picked up the case, which the rapper’s attorneys are seeking to resolve. In a statement, attorneys Charles H. Kuck, Dina LaPolt and Alex Spiro on the rapper’s behalf, wrote:
“For the past 9 long days, we, on behalf of She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, known to the world as 21 Savage, have been speaking with ICE to both clarify his actual legal standing, his eligibility for bond, and provide evidence of his extraordinary contributions to his community and society.
“In the last 24 hours, in the wake of the Grammy Awards at which he was scheduled to attend and perform, we received notice that She’yaa was granted an expedited hearing.
“Today, 21 Savage was granted a release on bond. He won his freedom.”
21 Savage’s legal team is a who’s who of top attorneys each specializing in different fields related to his case. They include Spiro, who was hired by Jay-Z and Roc Nation to help the rapper; Charles Kuck from Kuck and Baxter, a leading immigration lawyer; Abbi Taylor and Brian Steele, Atlanta criminal lawyers; and Bruce Harvey. 21 Savage’s personal attorney Dina LaPolt is overseeing efforts concerning his detention, which she says points to “the bigger inequity: that this is a systemic problem in America. They have no right to keep him.”