21 Savage's heritage shocked us all — but the clues were hiding in plain sight.
In one of the most surprising revelations of 2019 so far, Atlanta born-and-bred rapper 21 Savage turned out not to have been born or bred in Atlanta, but Great Britain instead.
Both ICE and the resulting memes were merciless. Savage — born Shéyaa Bin Abraham-Joseph — claims he was targeted because of the tweaked lyrics he performed on "Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" late last month, in which he criticized Donald Trump’s border policy.
But were ICE onto his lyrics well before this? Was the hip hop star dropping hints about his heritage throughout his music this whole time?
When heard through British ears, some of the "Savage Mode" hitmaker's rhymes could have more of a UK connection than fans previously realized.
Here's a rundown of what he might have been meaning all along.
For example, his most famous verse — within Post Malone’s "Rockstar" — he declares: “Your wifey say I'm lookin' like a whole snack.” Even on the unstumpable Genius lyrics site, this is the only line they haven’t decoded.
But the recent revelations suggest he may have been referring to a British staple, a Cadbury’s Snack or even a Hobnob.
In his 2016 hit "X," he scorns a ‘broke bitch’, pointing out: “Hol' up, you got Rainbow on your feet?” While fans believed he was referring to the discount shoe retailer, and the fact that his companion could only afford to buy footwear there.
However he may actually have been referring to the fact she was a fan of the beloved 70s British children’s television series, and may have had a pair of shoes with pictures of Zippy, George and Bungle reflecting that fact.
Incidentally, "X" is also the song Savage admitted to “ripping them confidential papers up”... possibly referring to his immigration paperwork.
In his 2016 double-platinum hit "No Heart," Savage claims his brother, who is cooking dope, is ‘in the kitchen and he wrappin' a bale.’ While previously believed to be a bale of the drug, it is possible his sibling was a huge fan of Oscar nominee and fellow Brit Christian Bale, and he was wrapping his arms around him (relax and roll with it).
Having “confessed” to a triple homicide in 2017’s "Bank Account," Savage challenges his captors to “put me in a chair” — presumably the electric one. But he also adds “triple cross the plug”, a probable hint at the outlet for the chair having the UK-standard three-prong plug, rather than the US two-pronged ones.
On the same track he threatens “Draco make you do the chicken head like Chingy” — namechecking the famous Chicken Head Dance from Chingy's “Right Thurr” music video. But while Genius seems to think Draco refers to an AK-47 assault rifle, it is far more likely he was referencing Harry Potter nemesis Draco Malfoy, who would have no reservation using the unforgivable Imperius Curse to make someone do said Chicken Head Dance.
While Savage lists “fellow Atlanta rapper” Gucci Mane as his inspirations, the final line in "No Heart" reveals his true muse: "The Streets raised me, I'm a whole bastard” — obviously referring to UK rapper The Streets, AKA Mike Skinner.
Of course, the most obvious telltale was on 2018’s "Cocky," when Skooly announces right at the top: “We got London on the track”. There’s a chance he wasn’t referring to the producer... but to Savage himself.
Savage was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers on the morning of February 3, alleging he had been living in the United States illegally after his visa ran out in 2006.
Just five days earlier he had appeared on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" to perform "A Lot", during which he added the lyrics: "Been through some things so I can't imagine my kids stuck at the border. Flint still need water. People was innocent, couldn't get lawyers," — which he later claimed put him in ICE's cross-hairs.