Rapper 21 Savage, whose given name is Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, was arrested in the Atlanta area Sunday morning by ICE officers
Grammy-nominated rapper 21 Savage has been arrested and faces deportation after it emerged he is British and came to the US aged 12 on a one-year visa that was never renewed, it was revealed today.
The musician, 26, was held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers and is in federal immigration custody in Georgia.
The star, whose real name is Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, is nominated for two awards at next week’s Grammys, including record of the year for his hit ‘Rockstar’.
Until last night it was believed that he was born and raised in Atlanta – with the Georgian city the inspiration for his music – but the authorities today accused him of lying about his past and claimed her was actually born in London.
The ICE said last night: ‘His whole public persona is false. He actually came to the US from the UK as a teen and overstayed his visa’.
Spokesman Bryan Cox says the rapper is a British citizen who entered the US legally in July 2005 at the age of 12.
He says the 26-year-old overstayed his visa, which expired a year later in July 2006.
21 Savage, who previously dated model Amber Rose, was arrested Sunday morning in the Atlanta area.
He is worth an estimated $8million, has had a string of number one albums and famously collaborated on the hit Sneakin’ with his friend Drake, who recently bought him a Ferrari to say thanks.
Abraham-Joseph took the name 21 Savage after getting shot six times on his 21st birthday and has had various run-ins with police before his arrest for immigration offences.
He last performed in Atlanta on Thursday January 31 at the Super Bowl Music Fest at the State Farm Arena alongside Ludacris.
ICE spokesman said the rapper is a British citizen who entered the US legally in July 2005 at the age of 12 but overstayed his visa which expired in 2006
The arresyt as a shock to his fans who believed 21 Savage, who previously dated Amber Rose (pictured together in 2017), was an Atlanta native
21 Savage (left of picture) with CIara and Ludacris at the Super Bowl Music Fest held in Georgia five days ago
The news will come as a shock to his fans, who considered the rapper an Atlanta local and born and brought up in DeKalb County, which covers the eastern suburbs of the city.
His birth was registered in the London borough of Newham in 1992.
US rapper 21 Savage attends the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York City
Cox says Abraham-Joseph has been placed in deportation proceedings in federal immigration court and revealed Abraham-Joseph was convicted on felony drug charges in Georgia in October 2014.
‘ICE will now await the outcome of his case before a federal immigration judge to determine future actions,’ Cox said.
His attorney, Dina LaPolt, said she’s working to get him out of custody.
LaPolt told TMZ: ‘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.’
21 Savage is one of 11 children born to his Dominican mother Heather, who appears to have links to the UK understood to be via the rapper’s father.
Despite his success as a rapper he had a troubled upbringing and aged 12 reportedly was expelled from school and banned from all others in his area after being caught with a gun.
Abraham-Joseph is nominated for two awards at next week’s Grammys
He was moved to a school outside Atlanta and after getting into more trouble sent to a youth detention centre in Georgia.
After his time in custody he returned to mainstream education he then dropped out and said later he was ‘exhausted’ by being excluded all the time.
He then joined a small street gang linked the the LA-based Bloods crime family and allegedly involved in robbery, grand theft auto and drug dealing.
Aged 19 he lost his best friend and ‘right hand’ man Larry in a shootout.
On his 21st birthday he was shot six times himself in a failed assassination attempt and that’s why he took the rap name 21 Savage.
Around the same time his brother Johnny was shot dead during an attempted robbery.
In 2017 he launched his debut album Issa and in 2018 his second I Am > I Was went to the top of the Billboard 200 charts, leading to his Grammy nominations.
As his profile increased he started a movement called ‘Guns Down, Paintballs Up’ aimed at reducing gun violence.
But the head of the Detroit Police Department, James Craig, said although ‘well-intentioned’ it was also ‘misguided’ and the movement was linked to several armed robberies and murders.
21 Savage, who had three children, has not responded to James Craig’s assertion but reportedly paid for the funeral of T’Rhigi Diggs, three, who was killed in a drive-by last April.
Last June he was filmed at an Atlanta pool party brandishing a gun when a rival allegedly pulled a weapon. Abraham-Joseph later claimed he was holding it for a friend, according to TMZ.