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21 Savage Is Planning an International Tour After Years of Immigration Issues

today10/05/2023

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According to Drake‘s new song, his frequent collaborator and current tourmate, 21 Savage, has resolved his immigration issues — and a source tells Billboard the rapper is now planning an international tour.

On Thursday (Oct. 5), Drake released a new freestyle called “8 AM in Charlotte,” and in it reveals — among other things — that 21 Savage has finally received his green card, after nearly being deported in 2019 due to an expired visa. On it, Drake raps: “Savage got a green card straight out of the consulate. Where I go, you go, brother, we Yugoslavian.”

The news comes at an opportune time for the Atlanta rapper as he’ll be helping Drake close out the final dates of his It’s All A Blur North American tour. The tour hits Toronto — Drake’s hometown and also, notably, not in the United States — for shows Friday and Saturday, before wrapping in Columbus, Ohio, on Oct. 9. At the tour’s previous Canadian tour dates, 21 Savage did not perform. J. Cole and Travis Scott filled in for him at the Montreal and Vancouver concerts, respectively.

21 Savage, who was born in the United Kingdom and legally arrived stateside at age 7, was arrested and detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in February 2019 after they said he was “unlawfully present” in the United States on a 2005 visa that expired one year after his arrival. In an interview last year with Math Hoffa for the My Expert Opinion podcast, 21 Savage explained how Jay-Z and Meek Mill helped get him out of custody. 

“I called Meek while I was in jail and told Meek, ‘Bro, I just got locked up.’ He called Jay-Z, and Jay-Z put a lawyer on my case,” said 21 Savage. “He played a role in getting me out. He ain’t just doing that sh– for anybody just cuz your rap. You gotta be from a certain cloth… I don’t feel like he’s just doing that for anybody. I ain’t Roc Nation or none of that sh–.”

Despite his release, the arrest by ICE agents led to legal proceedings over his immigration status — a process that was further complicated in 2021 when Atlanta-area prosecutors unveiled criminal charges relating to drugs and a handgun allegedly during the 2019 arrest. In an interview with TMZ last year, 21 Savage’s lawyer said those criminal charges had been delaying any resolution of the immigration case.

A representative for the district attorney in DeKalb County, Ga., where the criminal charges were filed, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the status of that case. 21 Savage’s reps also did not respond to Billboard‘s requests for comment.

Additional reporting by Bill Donahue.

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