Grammys To Take World Stage Sunday, But 21 Savage Will Not

Before collaborating with Post Malone — and long before his second album topped the Billboard 200 — 21 shot into hip-hop’s collective conscience in 2016 with two words: “Issa Knife.”
It was in that moment — nonchalantly discussing with VladTV the tattoo of a knife that rests between his eyes — that 21 became celebrated as one of the most authentic rappers in the industry.
The phrase was repeated from the city to the suburbs, made into memes and ushered the rapper toward mainstream stardom. He’d go on to name his debut studio production “Issa Album.”
The face tattoo was an homage to a friend who was murdered. It was as much a tribute to his fallen fellow gang member as it was a symbol of what he represented to hip-hop: a young rapper with a raw, rough but real story of growing up in Atlanta’s drug-dealing areas, known as traps.

‘That’s where you from, man’

The internet was not kind after 21’s arrest, and a parade of Twitter memes ensued.
One stated he wrote his rhymes with a feather quill, and another quipped that when he rapped about having shooters, he wasn’t talking about fellow gangbangers, but rather, British redcoats.
“Issa Joke” one opined about 21’s rap career. “+44 Savage,” another user poked fun, employing the United Kingdom’s international calling code.
“Englanddd?” another Twitter user wrote mockingly. “ATL streets done with.”
In an industry where an artist’s credibility and success is often defined by how authentic their struggle was growing up, 21 was dragged and roasted. An ICE spokesperson went so far as to say 21’s “whole public persona is false.”
Those who know him, however, were furious at the suggestion and quick to defend him.

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ICE arrests Grammy-nominated rapper

ICE arrests Grammy-nominated rapper

ICE arrests Grammy-nominated rapper

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