21 Savage says getting deported from the United States is his "worst nightmare."
On Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 3), the "A Lot" rapper was revealed to be a U.K. native following his arrest and detainment by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The 26-year-old was later released on bond and has since vowed to fight to maintain his residence.
In a recent interview with the New York Times, Savage spoke about his fear of being deported and shared his difficult experiences growing up in Atlanta as an immigrant.
"I had a accent, 'cause my first day of school they was [sic] making fun of me so I beat somebody up, and they was calling me 'taekwondo kid,'" he told the publication. "My mama whupped me, she made me stay in the house. So I know I had a accent, but I been here 20 years — I don't know what happened to it."
Savage continued, "We struggled but we couldn't get food stamps, we couldn't get government assistance. I learned how to live without. You know in school, when you get to a certain age, your clothes make you popular? I learned how to be popular without that. People respected me just for me."
The rapper, born She'yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, says he became aware his immigration status wasn't settled when he couldn't get his drivers license. "I couldn't never take driver's ed, I couldn't never go get a job," Savage recalled.
When asked if he was aware of the possibility of being deported before his arrest, Savage responded, "Yeah, for sure. It's like my worst nightmare. That's why it's always been trying to get corrected. Even if you got money, it ain't easy. It ain't no favoritism, and I respect it, I honestly respect it. It would be kind of messed up if they treated rich immigrants better than poor immigrants, I think."
Savage also opened up about the most draining part of being in detention. "The possibility of me not being able to live in this country no more that I've been living in my whole life," he shared. "All that just going through your head, like, 'Damn, I love my house, I ain't gonna be able to go in my house no more? I ain't gonna be able to go to my favorite restaurant that I been going to for 20 years straight?' That's the most important thing.
He continued, "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.'"