Through it all, 21 Savage hasn't lost his sense of humor. The rapper recently opened up to the New York Times about his experience being arrested and detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement earlier this month. Although he called the possibility of deportation "his worst nightmare," the U.K. native says he did find a silver lining in the stressful ordeal: all the memes.
"Some of them was funny — I ain't gonna lie. I was appreciative of that," Savage told the publication. "I coulda been another person who just, "He locked up? Damn," and nobody said nothing."
Savage, born She'yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, says he understood why some of his peers, including Wale and Offset, took offense to the jokes being made at his expense, but he saw the situation differently.
"I see why they was mad. It ain't about the meme, it's about the bigger picture," he explained. "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 [turn my phone over] and never see again. I look at bullet scars every day, so it's like, a meme, bro?"
The 26-year-old also addressed his lack of an accent. Many fans were shocked to learn Savage was not from Atlanta — he was indeed born in the U.K. — but raised in the ATL. "I had a [British] accent, but I been here 20 years," the rapper admits. "I don't know what happened to it."
The recent memes wouldn't be the first time Savage was made fun of for being an immigrant. He recalled being teased at school because he had an accent. "[M]y first day of school they was making fun of me so I beat somebody up, and they was calling me "taekwondo kid." My mama whupped me, she made me stay in the house," he shared.
Savage and his legal team are expected to fight his possible deportation so that he can remain in the United States. "That's the most important thing," he said. "If you tell me, "I'll give you 20 million to go stay somewhere you ain't never stayed," I'd rather be broke. I'll sit in jail to fight to live where I've been living my whole life."