21 Savage continues to speak out following his release from ICE detention.
The rapper, born She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Feb. 3, claiming he was an “unlawfully present United Kingdom national” who had overstayed his visa. His fans and peers rallied behind him, while his arrest also inspired a series of memes.
In an interview with The New York Times, Savage—who was released on $100,000 bond and faces deportation—said he was “appreciative” of all the support, even the memes.
“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. Some people, I see why they was mad. It ain’t about the meme, it’s about the bigger picture.”
He added, “But I done been through way worse things in my life than somebody putting me on a meme. 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?”
Following his arrest, Chris Brown shared a meme of Savage rapping in a British accent, but Savage’s close friend and frequent collaborator Offset was not laughing. He responded in the comments, writing, “Memes ain’t funny lame,” which ignited an all-out feud between the two. Chris told him to pull up to his house and fight him, but a physical confrontation was avoided.
During the interview, Savage also addressed his accent (“I been here 20 years—I don’t know what happened to it”) and the possibility of deportation. “It’s like my worst nightmare. That’s why it’s always been trying to get corrected,” he said.
Savage was supposed to perform “rockstar” with Post Malone at the Grammys, but was forced to miss the performance due to his incarceration. However, he remains grateful for all the support. “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,” he said. “That’s all that mattered. 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.”