The story of 21 Savage’s legal trouble with ICE has been the prevailing narrative in the hip-hop community recently, largely because it has brought exposure to how ICE treats immigrants trying to make a life for themselves in the United States. Savage has spoken about the process some since he was released from ICE custody on bond a week ago, and this weekend, The New York Times published an interview with the rapper.
In the conversation, Savage said he first became aware of his legal status in his teen years, when he was unable to take a driver’s education course or get a job because of it. He went on to say that trying to become a citizen seemed futile:
“It felt impossible. It got to the point where I just learned to live without it. ‘Cause I still ain’t got it, I’m 26, and I’m rich. So, just learned to live without it. […] 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.”
Despite that, the rapper insisted he wouldn’t change anything about his journey, saying, “It made me who I am. I wouldn’t write it no other way if I had the choice. If they said, ‘Hey, you could start your life over and make yourself a citizen,’ I wouldn’t have never did it. I still want to go through this right here ’cause it made me who I am, it made me strong.”
Savage also discussed the differences between growing up in the UK and the US, among other topics, so find the full conversation here.