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21 Savage
21 Savage 2018.jpg
21 Savage performing in 2018
Background information
Birth name Shéyaa Bin Abraham-Joseph
Born (1992-10-22) October 22, 1992 (age 30)
Plaistow, London, England
Origin Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
  • Rapper
  • songwriter
  • record producer
Years active 2012–present
  • Epic
  • Slaughter Gang
Children 3

Shéyaa Bin Abraham-Joseph (born October 22, 1992), known professionally as 21 Savage, is a rapper based in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. Born in London, he moved to Atlanta with his mother at age seven. He became known after releasing two mixtapes in 2015, before attaining international attention with the release of the collaborative EP Savage Mode (2016) with Metro Boomin; its singles "X" (featuring Future) and "No Heart" peaked within the top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 and 21 Savage's profile also later increased with a guest feature on Drake's 2016 single "Sneakin'". He then signed a recording contract with Epic Records in January 2017.

21 Savage's debut studio album, Issa Album (2017), peaked at number two on the U.S. Billboard 200 and its lead single "Bank Account" reached number 12 on the Hot 100. He then released the collaborative album Without Warning (2017) with Offset and Metro Boomin, with the song "Ric Flair Drip" peaking at number 13 on the Hot 100, though that particular song did not feature him. 21 Savage featured on Post Malone's 2017 single "Rockstar", which reached number one on the Hot 100 and nominated for Record of the Year and Best Rap/Sung Performance at the 2019 Grammy Awards. His second album, I Am > I Was (2018), became his first U.S. number one album and spawned the hit song "A Lot" (featuring J. Cole), which won Best Rap Song at the 2020 Grammy Awards. 21 Savage's highly anticipated third album, Savage Mode II (2020), a sequel collaboration with Metro Boomin to their 2016 EP, debuted atop the Billboard 200, and spawned the U.S. top 10 singles "Runnin" and "Mr. Right Now" (featuring Drake). In 2022, 21 Savage would be featured on Drake's song "Jimmy Cooks" from his album Honestly, Nevermind, where it debuted at number one on the Hot 100, making it 21 Savage's second number one on the chart and his first number-one debut.

21 Savage was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on February 3, 2019. Officials revealed his status as a British citizen who entered the U.S. in July 2005 and unlawfully overstayed a H-4 visa that expired in 2006. He was granted bond on February 12 and released the next day, pending the outcome of an expedited deportation hearing, which was initially scheduled for April 9, but was later postponed indefinitely, with 21 Savage's lawyers stating he was legally residing in the U.S. for several years prior to the 2005 H-4 visa.

Early life

21 Savage was born Shéyaa Bin Abraham-Joseph on October 22, 1992, at Newham University Hospital in the Plaistow area of London, the son of Heather Carmillia Joseph and Kevin Cornelius Emmons. His parents are both British nationals with Caribbean origins; his mother's family is from Dominica, and his father's is from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. His father and twin sisters, dance choreographers Kyra and Jayda Davis, continue to live in London, where his father works for Westminster City Council, while his paternal grandfather was Haitian. 21 Savage's parents separated early in his life, and he moved at the age of seven with his mother to Atlanta, Georgia. In June 2005, at the age of 12, he returned to the United Kingdom for his uncle's funeral, stayed for a month, and then went back to Atlanta on an H-4 visa on July 22, 2005, which allegedly expired a year later. 21 Savage's mother then began a relationship with Dr. Amsu Anpu, an endocrinologist and British expatriate, with whom she had more children.

In the 7th grade, 21 Savage was banned permanently from every school in DeKalb County School District for gun possession. This led him to begin attending schools around the Atlanta metropolitan area before being sent to a juvenile detention center. After being released from the juvenile detention center, he completed eighth grade through an alternative program before finishing a semester of high school, but dropped out in his freshman year following multiple exclusions that he said "exhausted" him.


2014–2015: Early releases, The Slaughter Tape, and Slaughter King

Following the death of his friend in a shootout on his 21st birthday, 21 Savage began rapping. His music career was originally subsidized by his deceased friend's uncle, who gave him money for studio time in 2013. On November 12, 2014, 21 Savage's debut single, "Picky", produced by DJ Plugg, was released. It was later included on his debut mixtape, The Slaughter Tape, which was released on May 25, 2015. The release made him what Interview Magazine called an "underground hero in Atlanta".

On July 2, 2015, 21 Savage released a collaborative EP, Free Guwop, with Sonny Digital. It is a tribute EP to fellow rapper and influence Gucci Mane. On December 1, 2015, 21 Savage released his second mixtape, Slaughter King.

2016–2017: Savage Mode, Issa Album, and Without Warning

In June 2016, 21 Savage was named as one of the "Freshman Class" of 2016 by XXL. On July 15, 2016, 21 Savage released his joint EP Savage Mode with Atlanta-based record producer Metro Boomin. The EP gained international success and peaked at number 23 on the Billboard 200, which became their highest charting EP to date. In November 2016, he was on the cover of The Fader. The Savage Mode single "X" featuring Future was confirmed by Billboard as going platinum in the US, being 21's first platinum record. On January 18, 2017, 21 Savage announced that he had signed to Epic Records.

In 2017, his debut studio album, Issa Album, debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200. Its lead single, "Bank Account", peaked at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. Later that year, he was featured on Post Malone's single "Rockstar", which peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and broke numerous records. It became 21 Savage's first number-one song and was later certified Diamond by the RIAA.

On October 31, 2017, a collaborative studio album by 21 Savage, Offset, and Metro Boomin titled Without Warning was released. Without Warning debuted at number four on the US Billboard 200 and received generally positive reviews from critics. Its lead single, "Ric Flair Drip" peaked at number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100.

2018–19: I Am > I Was

21 Savage 2018 2
21 Savage in June 2018

In April 2018, 21 Savage had a guest appearance on Young Thug's extended play Hear No Evil along with fellow rappers Nicki Minaj and Lil Uzi Vert. Later that month, he also appeared on the single "Outstanding" by SahBabii. On March 21, 2018, he was featured on the single "Rover 2.0", which is part of BlocBoy JB's Simi mixtape. In the following month, he was featured on Ty Dolla Sign's "Clout", which was part of the deluxe edition of his album Beach House 3.

On October 31, 2018, 21 Savage posted on his Instagram a picture of a man in silhouette jumping in the air in the direction away from a large blaze. In the bottom right corner of the picture there was a "Parental Advisory" notice, as there oftentimes is on the cover of rap releases. 21 Savage also tagged Metro Boomin in the post. For these reasons, some speculated it to be a sequel to 2017's Without Warning album. However, it turned out to be the cover for Metro's debut solo album, Not All Heroes Wear Capes.

On December 6, 2018, 21 Savage posted cover art for his album, I Am > I Was, on Instagram, which features a blurred out image of himself, captioning the image with a number of goat emojis. The next day, 21 Savage took to Twitter and his Instagram story to apologize that he "forgot" to release the album, saying on Twitter: "Dam I forgot to drop my album my bad y'all". He announced a new date of December 21, 2018. The track-list was leaked by record producer Louis Bell via his Instagram story on December 13, 2018. 21 Savage released his second studio album I Am > I Was on December 21, 2018, with features from Travis Scott, Post Malone, Childish Gambino, Offset, J. Cole, Gunna, Lil Baby, Project Pat, Yung Miami, and Schoolboy Q. None of those acts, however, are credited as artists on the album. I Am > I Was debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, earning 131,000 album-equivalent units (including 18,000 pure album sales), making it 21 Savage's first US number one album. It was led by "A Lot", featuring vocals from J. Cole. The song peaked at number 12 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and earned 21 his first Grammy award. Through 2019, 21 Savage released only one song named "Immortal".

2020–present: Savage Mode II, Spiral soundtrack, and Her Loss

In February 2020, 21 and longtime collaborator Metro Boomin hinted at the release of a sequel to their Savage Mode extended play called Savage Mode II. On September 28, 2020, a teaser trailer for Savage Mode II, directed by Gibson Hazard was released, with a narration from Morgan Freeman, announcing the release date of October 2. The collaborative album peaked at number one on the Billboard 200 and included two top-ten singles, "Runnin", and "Mr. Right Now", featuring Drake.

21 was featured alongside Justin Bieber on DJ Khaled's April 2021-released single "Let It Go" from Khaled's twelfth studio album, Khaled Khaled. On May 14, 2021, he released an EP titled Spiral, serving as the official soundtrack to the film Spiral: From the Book of Saw. The same day, he was featured on the track "My Life" off of J. Cole's sixth studio album, The Off-Season. The track peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100.

Drake announced a collaboration studio album with 21, Her Loss, releasing on October 28, 2022.

Musical style

Vocally, he is known for his "trademark villainous monotone drawl". His musical style is influenced by Three 6 Mafia.


In early August 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019, 21 Savage hosted the "Issa Back to School Drive" (named after his album Issa Album) in his home neighborhood in Atlanta. The drive gave free haircuts, hairstyles, supplies, and school uniforms.

In March 2018, 21 Savage announced the creation of the 21 Savage Bank Account Campaign (named after his hit song "Bank Account") on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, he also announced that he was donating $21,000 to the cause. He stated, "I started the 21 Savage Bank Account Campaign and it's to help kids learn how to save money and make money, and open bank accounts for kids." Four months later, he donated $10,000 to Atlanta's Continental Colony Elementary School to fund an anti-bullying campaign.

On July 1, 2020, 21 Savage announced he was launching a free online financial literacy education program for kids and teenagers stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying, "I feel like it's important more than ever to give our next generation the tools to succeed in life." The program includes a partnership with Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to provide free tablets and WiFi to underserved students in Atlanta.

Personal life

21 Savage and his mother are both adherents of the traditional West African religion Ifá. In June 2017, he started dating model Amber Rose, but had separated in May 2018.

In October 2017, he began taking flying lessons in a Cirrus SR20 single-engine aircraft.


Studio albums
  • Issa Album (2017)
  • I Am > I Was (2018)
Collaborative albums


In 2017, it was reported that 21 Savage was guest starred in the movie The Trap and working on his debut film, Issa Movie.

21 Savage has also worked on a YouTube animated mini-series named Year 2100.



  • Issa Tour (2017)
  • Numb the Pain Tour (2017)
  • I Am > I Was Tour (2019)


  • The Off-Season Tour (2021) (with J. Cole)

Opening act

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated Work Result
2017 BET Awards Best New Artist Himself Nominated
Streamy Awards Breakthrough Artist Nominated
2018 iHeartRadio Music Awards Best New Hip-Hop Artist Nominated
Hip-Hop Song of the Year "Rockstar" (with Post Malone) Nominated
Billboard Music Awards Top New Artist Himself Nominated
Top Hot 100 Song "Rockstar" (with Post Malone) Nominated
Top Streaming Song (Audio) Nominated
Top Collaboration Nominated
Top Rap Song Won
American Music Awards Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Song Nominated
Collaboration of the Year Nominated
MTV Europe Music Awards Best Song Nominated
MTV Video Music Awards Song of the Year Won
Best Hip-Hop Video "Bartier Cardi" (with Cardi B) Nominated
BET Awards Best Collaboration Nominated
BET Hip Hop Awards Best Featured Verse Nominated
Best Collabo, Duo or Group "Ric Flair Drip" Nominated
2019 Grammy Awards Record of the Year "Rockstar" (with Post Malone) Nominated
Best Rap/Sung Performance Nominated
2020 Grammy Awards Best Rap Song "A Lot" (with J. Cole) Won
Best Rap Album I Am > I Was Nominated

See also

  • In Spanish: 21 Savage
  • List of artists who reached number one on the UK Singles Chart
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