As 21 Savage and his team look ahead following the Grammy nominee's widely condemned ICE arrest, fans are starting to get a glimpse at how the weight of that moment may affect both his art and the philanthropy efforts that have been a key part of his career even prior to the events of 2019.
In an expansive new piece for Billboard, 21—as well as managers, attorneys, and others close to him—spoke on the difficult place the 10-day detainment put him in back in February.
Comparing the experience to a traditional jail detainment, 21 pointed to the fact that he didn't have a clear idea of what was happening on the outside. "The worst thing was sitting in there not knowing what was going to happen, or when it's going to happen," 21 said. "Whenever I went to jail before, it was, 'You're being charged with this and going to court on this date.' But immigration ain't like that. You're just being held."
An added difficulty to the attention brought on by the ICE arrest has been a new level of attention on 21 himself, which he doesn't sound particularly fond. "I went from just being regular to my life being in the lens 24-7," he said. As Kei Henderson (who co-manages 21 with Justin "Meezy" Williams) explained about the team's current plans, they'll be working to support 21's music and other endeavors without him having to do so many interviews.
Though specific thematic details on new 21 music aren't disclosed in the interview, 21 did note that he's presently sitting on approximately two albums worth of unreleased material. Williams addressed the possibility of exploring the multiple issues surrounding 21's ICE arrest in forthcoming new music, saying "eventually it will be in the music." But first, 21's team is aiming for more i am > i was singles. The album, which includes the prescient "A Lot," notably became 21's first Billboard 200 No. 1 upon its release last December.
21 addressed "A Lot" in the interview, pointing to the "deepest thing" about the cinematic video for the J. Cole collab. "People will be going through a lot of stuff, but you’ll never know what they’re hiding behind their smiles," he said. "Like, nobody would ever know that I wasn't born here."
Read the full interview, which also includes a photo of 21 with activists who helped spread the word about his due freedom and the immigration issue at large, right here. Below, check out 21 working on his Bank Account campaign, educating students at Camp Jewell House Academy in Decatur, Georgia about financial literacy. At the end, a group of students perform a Black History Month rap for 21, who decrees "that shit hard!"