Last night, rapper 21 Savage completed his first-ever European headlining tour with a show at London’s O2 arena. The concert was the rapper’s veritable homecoming to his birthplace of London, where he lived until moving to Atlanta, Georgia with his family at the age of seven. In October, 21 gained his permanent American residency after a four-year battle with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
During his 90-minute set, 21, who is nominated for five Grammys at the 2024 award ceremony, delved into his nearly decade-long catalog of hits and also brought out local rap stars Central Cee and J Hus as well as dancehall star Popcaan.
Before the O2 date, 21 had visited seven European cities such as Paris, Berlin, and Amsterdam. The tour was 21 Savage’s first time in Europe since he was 12 years old. In February 2019, 21 was detained by ICE officers in Atlanta, and it was revealed that he was a British citizen living in America on an H-4 Visa that had expired in 2006. ICE detained him for ten days and scheduled him for an expedited deportation hearing in April of 2019. But he was granted bail and had the deportation proceeding indefinitely delayed as his legal team fought to secure his status in America.
His plight amplified the battle that undocumented citizens all over the country are having with ICE. In June 2022, 21 told rap and culture podcast My Expert Opinion that Jay-Z and Meek Mill aided him in being released from ICE custody.“[ICE] detained me because they said I had a felony [drug] conviction, but the felony conviction got dismissed,” he said, adding that “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. He played a role in getting me out. He ain’t just doing that shit for anybody just ‘cause you rap. You gotta be from a certain cloth… I ain’t Roc Nation or none of that shit.”
On October 7, ICE deemed 21 a “lawful permanent citizen” of America, allowing him to freely travel internationally. A month later, he started his European tour, which follows his 82-date It’s All A Blur tour with his friend and frequent collaborator Drake. His appearance at the tour’s Toronto date was his first performance outside America since the ICE issues.
Along with touring their Her Loss album, 21 has been on a slew of features in 2023, including “Good Good” with Usher and Summer Walker. In October, he released “Call Me Revenge” with singer d4vd in tandem with his virtual appearance in the Modern Warfare 2 videogame.