Ryan Adams Accused Of Sexual Misconduct, Emotional Manipulation By Multiple Women

Singer-songwriter and producer Ryan Adams has been accused of abuse, manipulation, and sexual misconduct by several women in an exposé from The New York Times. Adams, through a lawyer, has denied the allegations.

The women who spoke about their experiences with Adams include his ex-wife Mandy Moore, singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers, and more young female artists he was ostensibly mentoring. Most shared stories of Adams offering them career opportunities while simultaneously pursuing them for sex. “In some cases,” the article claims, “he would turn domineering and vengeful, jerking away his offers of support when spurned, and subjecting women to emotional and verbal abuse, and harassment in texts and on social media.”

One woman, a then-aspiring bassist identified as Ava, claims she was 14 when she entered an online relationship with Adams that eventually led to sexual conversations and an instance when he exposed himself to her over Skype. In a text message from 2014 reviewed by the Times, Adams wrote to her, “If people knew they would say I was like R Kelley lol.”

Moore also described “psychologically abusive” behavior from her ex-husband, adding that “music was a point of control” for him. She said, “His controlling behavior essentially did block my ability to make new connections in the industry during a very pivotal and potentially lucrative time — my entire mid-to-late 20s.”

Adams’s layer, Andrew B Brettler, told the Times, “Mr. Adams unequivocally denies that he ever engaged in inappropriate online sexual communications with someone he knew was underage.” Brettler also denied the other “extremely serious and outlandish accusations” detailed in the report, calling them “grousing by disgruntled individuals.”

Read the full New York Times piece here.

Juice WRLD Is Forced To Give His Heart Up On Wounded New Song ‘Robbery’

Ahead of Valentine’s Day, Juice WRLD has a dark tale of romance gone awry to share. The rapper released his new single “Robbery” today via Beats 1 Radio as Zane Lowe’s World Record. Don’t let the mischievous name fool you; the only boundaries broken here are metaphysical in nature, not physical. Take a listen to it below.

“Robbery” is in line with the smooth, mid-tempo jams that Juice WRLD specializes in. Nick Mira, the producer behind his breakout single “Lucid Dreams,” returns to the fold with a piano-heavy instrumental that soundtracks Juice WRLD’s wounded wailing. The song is a drunken reflection of a toxic relationship by Juice WRLD, with the rapper confessing to his deepest insecurities to remain sane. “One thing my dad told me was ‘Never let your woman know when you’re insecure’/So I put Gucci on the fur/And I put my wrist on iceberg,” he caterwauls dejectedly. You can practically hear him venting to a stranger at the bar, during a commercial break for a college football game, his breath heavy with the thick smell of fresh beer.

“Robbery” is the first single from Juice WRLD’s forthcoming sophomore album Deathrace for Love that is set to drop on March 8Later this month, the rapper will be joining Nicki Minaj for The Nicki WRLD Tour that’s set to kick off in Munich, Germany.

Lady Gaga Will Not Stand For Any Cardi B Criticism: ‘Let’s Celebrate Her Fight’

Lady Gaga and Cardi B both walked away winners at last weekend’s Grammys, but only the latter queen has had to defend her victory amid an onslaught of criticism. Cardi’s win put her in the history books as the first solo female artist to earn Best Rap Album, but after some haters said she didn’t deserve it, she deactivated her Instagram and ranted about the “bullshit” she’s been taking.

“I’m seeing a lot of bullshit today and I saw a lot of shit last night, and I’m sick of this shit,” she said in a now-deleted video. “I worked hard for my motherfucking album.”

Gaga apparently caught wind of the controversy and showed Cardi some love with a heartfelt post on Twitter that called on others to support the “brave” MC.

“It is so hard to be a woman in this industry. What it takes, how hard we work through the disrespectful challenges, just to make art,” Gaga wrote, alongside a photo of them meeting at Sunday night’s ceremony. “I love you Cardi. You deserve your awards. Let’s celebrate her fight. Lift her up & honor her. She is brave.”

Gaga wasn’t the only one to defend Cardi’s hard-earned win. Pusha T, another contender for Best Rap Album, offered his congrats, as did Chance the Rapper, who called her award “overly deserved.”

“It would be inconceivable not to honor u last night,” Chance wrote in the comments of a now-deleted post. “Straight up bask in it YOU deserve it. It’s a feeling very few will ever know, but YOU do.”

All “bullshit” aside, Gaga’s support has to mean a lot to Cardi — the Bronx rapper is, after all, a longtime Little Monster. She hasn’t responded to Gaga’s tweet yet, but hopefully she’s basking in the love from her fellow Grammy victor.

Drinking Boys And Girls Choir’s Surging K-Punk Will Keep You Raging In 2019

If 2018 was the year K-pop finally breached the gates of the U.S. mainstream, the South Korean power trio Drinking Boys and Girls Choir are helping light a similar fire for K-punk this year. The skate-infused rock tonic swirled up by the band’s three members — MJ, Meena, and Bondu — is grittier and spunkier than the carefully choreographed movements of BTS; stylistically, DBGC hew more closely to American pop-punk institutions of Blink-182 and Sum 41 (and in their multiple songwriters and singers, even the legendary Minutemen). This all makes their upcoming LP, Keep Drinking, a highly potent melange where gilded hooks and noisy hardcore mingle with brief ska excursions and more. But it all started with a shared affinity for New Found Glory.

Based in Daegu, 150 miles southeast of Seoul, the trio began playing together by covering one of the Florida five-piece’s seminal hits. “I told them, I want to cover this song,” MJ told MTV News recently in a Skype interview. She doesn’t remember which one, though. Meena recalls a more ambitious approach: “Actually, we tried the whole album. But we just finished the one song.”

“And then we started making [our own] songs,” MJ said.

Meena and MJ began as drummers, and Meena hopped on bass as Bondu joined on guitar. They all take turns singing in both Korean and English, and each gets at least one spotlit moment on Keep Drinking (out March 8 on Damnably). The album’s a caffeinated 18-song liftoff front-loaded with a rallying title track, a blistering assault called “I’m a Fucking McDonald’s” inspired by Meena’s day job, and the mosh-ready “National Police Shit.” You can see the band’s collective energy in that song’s vibrant, joyously juvenile music video, which MTV News is exclusively premiering above.

That the clip plays like a stunty Vine compilation without all the filler might explain the album’s wild mania. While MJ gets the album’s sweetest moment, anchoring a breezy cowpunk number with a forlorn lilt, Meena and Bondu trade off vintage millennial pop-punk shouts throughout the rest, all reminiscent of the North American skate-infused rock the band grew up downloading. Now, DBGC are the ones online; in one of their best and most revelatory live clips, they charge through “Song of Sincerity” to a crowd of 30 or 40 jumping fans in a small club. Bondu and Meena jump, too, as they strum their first chords. The audience goes off.

“Here, it’s just one live club,” Meena said. “If we [organize] a punk show, we call another city’s punk band, and they come to Daegu and we play together. Korea is really small, so it’s maybe four hours by bus. If they take a speed train, they can come in one hour and a half.”

DBGC are loyal to Daegu. They don’t see a need to relocate to a bigger city like Seoul for the exposure. It’s too expensive, for one thing — ranked the sixth-priciest city in the world in 2018 — and geographically, it’s close enough that they can get there in a few hours anyway. “We can go to Seoul and come back the same day,” Meena said. “We’ve had many shows in Seoul.”

There’s also the internet, the very tool that allows music fans a hemisphere away to discover, dig, and share DBGC (and their incredibly endearing, mildly rebellious YouTube videos) in the first place. But beyond that, Meena, MJ, and Bondu have hometown loyalty, even in a city with a “really small” punk scene. In Daegu, they preserve that culture by organizing shows and playing live during the local Go Skateboarding Day festivities. “Daegu is a conservative city,” MJ said. “Many governments banned skateboarding in public. So we have to crash on that.”

One scene they have yet to crash is America. But that’s changing soon, thanks to an upcoming midnight SXSW gig, their first-ever in the U.S. They’re a tad nervous. They’ve only seen the festival as it’s represented in films about music. Of course, the delight is there, too. “I’m really happy, but I can’t imagine,” Meena said. “We just practice together and make a playlist. A friend from America, from California, when we announced our band’s name on the SXSW site, he was really happy and really excited and he told me, ‘Wow, you are awesome.’ So I can feel good.”

Even as SXSW’s coolness has gradually rubbed off like a nightclub wrist stamp — so it’s been suggested for years — the festival’s atmosphere might be a welcome vibe for DBGC, who’ve had some bad luck playing shows outside Daegu. Once, after a “great gig” in Indonesia, local police locked down the venue for two hours in pursuit of an alleged weed smoker. And a few days later, true to their band name, the trio was shut down by the police for having a few beers while playing a public space. (They rebounded with a private show inside a studio, thanks to their pals in Bandung’s Saturday Night Karaoke.)

A few live hiccups are key in forming a band’s origin story. DBGC seem less concerned with myth-making, though. They’re too focused on the people singing their songs back to them and riding the high of that moment — whether it’s one giant leap for K-punk or just the biggest adventure yet for one excited band — to care. “I work a full-time job, so when I play a show, I feel free,” Meena said. “If anybody listens to my song, and I can play, I’m just really happy.”

Lil Baby Is In The Seventh Ring Of Relationship Hell In ‘Close Friends’ Video

On Valentine’s Day, we recognize not only the relationships that have blossomed into something beautiful, but we also pay respects to those that have wilted throughout the year, regardless of which partner is at fault. Lil Baby‘s new video for “Close Friends,” ironically released the day before the anti-single holiday, is about just that – a toxic relationship spurred in luxury and fatally wounded by infidelity. Check out the bleak video below.

Things start off nice enough; Lil Baby and his girlfriend, Jayda Cheaves,  dine in Paris under the Eiffel Tower and a sea of shimmering stars. Their smiles become the viewer’s over time, staying even after they transition from the dining table to the bedroom. Instead of a steamy sexual encounter, we follow these smiles as they become grander, escalating to wide-eyed grins as the blossoming lovers become enraptured in each other’s very presence. Reality quickly sets in over the course of a couple frames; what we’ve seen is Lil Baby’s memory of better times. Now, he’s miserable, getting screamed at by Cheaves until her face is blue. Her hands point and prod at his cheeks as he glances off the frustration because, as the song reveals, the situation is his fault. The song and video end in sorrow, with Lil Baby hoping that things can return to the way that they were.

While the video for “Close Friends” is about as close of a middle finger to Valentine’s Day as ever, Lil Baby actually isn’t the Ebenezer Scrooge of the holiday. The rapper is wrapping up a contest for special women to receive a complimentary dinner at restaurants in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and Atlanta. Check here for more details about Lil Baby’s attempt at holiday spirit.

“Close Friends” appears on his 2018 collaboration with Gunna, Drip Harder. In March, he’ll be embarking on a trek across the United States with City Girls, Blueface, among others, for the New Generation Tour. A few weeks ago, he dropped the video for “Global” from his 2018 EP Street Gossip. 

Ciara Wants You To Enjoy Valentine’s Day With Her New Anthem ‘Greatest Love’

Ciara‘s much-adored relationship with Seattle Seahawks Quarterback Russell Wilson is the kind of romantic entanglement that the average person, single, dating, or “it’s complicated,” idolizes on the eve of this Valentine’s Day. Although we can’t all have this exact blueprint of love, Ciara has decided to gift us some of that energy with the release of her new single, “Greatest Love” along with its accompanying video. Take in the Valentine’s Day air below.

Ciara can do so much without expensive CGI shots and cringe storylines. “Greatest Love” is another showcase of her superhuman body control, sensual movements, and sharp aesthetic choices. The visual is a collection of simple color backdrops – blood red, denim blue, eclipse black – that features Ciara’s signature swift routines. She slashes her hips left and right while her skin’s illuminated by blinding lights, sways her shoulders back and forth with a jacket dangling from her shoulders as rapidly flickering lights brighten up the dark scene, and slowly rotates in a pitch black room illuminated by the glitter of her garb.

While her movements work to keep the gaze locked, her vocals massage the inner eardrums as she spins a web of thankfulness for her lover. The lyrics are personal too, taking the listener along on her journey, enabling those following to transition some of this appreciation to the one that they’re thankful for, or who they will be in the future. “I should’ve known when you took my son as your own/I ain’t saying I ain’t like all the carats and the stone/It’s just your love that I want,” she sings earnestly. It’s heartwarming, adorable, and, somewhat, tear-jerking if we’re being honest.

Ciara’s “Greatest Love” follows last year’s “Dose” and “Level Up,” with the latter receiving a remix featuring Fatman Scoop and Missy Elliott. The singer told ABC last year that she was preparing a new album. Let’s hope that it’s around the corner.

Drake Thanks Kanye West Ahead Of ‘So Far Gone’ Streaming Release

For the last decade, Drake‘s name has been synonymous with not only hip-hop, but pop culture. The Canadian rapper has five platinum albums under his belt and continues to, somehow, grow larger each day. Drizzy’s success can be traced back to So Far Gone, his 2009 breakout mixtape that has remained a highlight of the blog era. It turns 10 today, and with a reflective and celebratory Instagram post from its creator comes a nice surprise; tomorrow, So Far Gone will be available to download on all streaming services. With the announcement, he also gave praise to some of the people responsible for its creation, and of them was Kanye West, his current (or previous) archenemy.

Drake went long on his breakout project this morning on Instagram, posting its infamous cover in all of its nostalgic splendor. The Toronto crooner’s accompanying thank you note reads like a walk down memory lane. He fondly reflects on Boi-1da’s early producer career (“a decade ago you were in a basement with pink insulation walls figuring out fruity loops”), Trey Songz‘s ability to see Drake’s potential (“a decade ago you were the first person to recognize potential and give me a co-sign’), and Lil Wayne for giving him the chance of a lifetime (“a decade ago you took me out of Toronto and gave me the biggest blessing anybody has ever given me”) among 12 other important contributors.

Of all of the words allocated to those that helped So Far Gone become what it was, Drake’s note to Kanye West was the longest. “A decade ago I rapped over your beat cause you just made the best shit and even though you stay wildin on twitter these days I will never forget what you contributed to the game and my career,” the caption reads.

The “wildin” that Drake’s referring to is probably Kanye’s December Twitter tweetstorm when he exposed Drake for attempting to get “Say What’s Real” – A song that appears on So Far Gone that re-uses the beat for “Say You Will” from Kanye’s 2008 album 808s & Heartbreak – cleared and then followed with demands for an apology. Drake’s not entirely innocent in the situation either; Kanye claimed in the rant that Drake was “threatening” him, and on recent songs like “No Stylist” and “Duppy (Freestyle),” the rapper did drop some sly lines at Mr. West.

But both of these songs were released last year and Drake could very well be over their on-and-off feud. He took home the award for Best Rap Song at the 61st Grammy Awards (for “God’s Plan“) and gave a stirring speech about how unimportant the trophy was, saying, “You’ve already won if you have people who are singing your songs word for word.” He’s also planning to embark on a European tour with Tory Lanez, another former rival, in March. As Drizzy moves full steam ahead, let’s look to So Far Gone tomorrow to reminisce.

Drake Found A Signature Sound On So Far Gone — Here’s How It’s Evolved

By Marcus Blackwell

So what I tend to do is think of today as the past
It’s funny when you coming in first, but you hope that you last
You just hope that it lasts

On the 10-year anniversary of his critically-acclaimed 2009 mixtape So Far Gone, the closing words from a 22-year-old Drake on “Lust for Life” have indeed become a reality. Drake has not simply “lasted” but has been consistently one of the most dominant musical acts over the past decade — just check the charts.

His ability to transcend genres and continually grow his fanbase has placed him in a unique position as an MC. The signature slow-paced, atmospheric, and melodic sound he built with in-house producer Noah “40” Shebib (heard on early songs like “The Calm,” “Brand New,” and “The Resistance”) is still very much thriving today, but it’s been Drizzy’s ability to maneuver into diverse musical spaces over the years that has aided in his strategic efforts to maintain his top position.

On the 10th anniversary of what was a career-catapulting mixtape, we trace and highlight the most calculated and standout moments in Drake’s sonic evolution.

Fortifying His Signature Sound (2010-2013)

Not long after the So Far Gone mixtape hit the ‘net on February 13, 2009, Drake inked a deal with Lil Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment under the legendary Cash Money Records. As the new kid on the block, his career took off, propelled by that trademark airy sound. It’s a sonic mood that resulted from the R&B that first brought Drake and 40 together, as the producer told GQ in 2011. Shortly after, they created “Houstatlantavegas” in the studio and “that abstract world we were taking rap music to” was born.

From the time of his debut album Thank Me Later in 2010 to 2013’s Nothing Was the Same, Drake found comfort in that world, and it was easily identifiable; you hear it on essential singles like “Headlines,” “Marvin’s Room,” and “Started From the Bottom,” effectively showcasing his artistic range and taste.

“A lot of people pick their single by what’s the strongest song. I don’t really do that,” Drake told Billboard‘s The Juice in 2011. “I like to make sure that the content is very relevant to right now. I want people to party to it but at the same time the fans, the people that care about my career, the people that follow me, will hear a message in it.”

Following the release of Drake’s third album, the scope of hip-hop was beginning to shift. In late 2014, Migos were bubbling with anthemic trap cuts like “Fight Night” and “Handsome and Wealthy,” while Future had the streets on lock with a flurry of records complemented by radio hits like “Fuck Up Some Commas.” This generation of Atlanta’s distinct, high-energy trap sound was starting to take over the mainstream.

The era’s early elites like J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, and Drake himself were no longer the fresh faces of the industry. After five-plus years in the game as an top-tier act, Drake had to make some tactical adjustments to his musical direction.

Experimenting With Trap (2015)

When discussing 2015’s year in hip-hop, two things that will eventually enter the conversation are Drake’s surprise mixtape, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, and Future’s legendary mixtape run that eventually led to their joint project, What a Time to Be Alive.

A heavy, welldocumented critique from Drake fans who have more of an affinity for his prototypical rap cuts is that his albums tend to be overly drenched in R&B or “sing-songy” records. If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late was Drake’s opportunity to strategically showcase that he not only could pump out the easy-listening hits fans were accustomed to (think “Hold On, We’re Going Home”), but that he could also take on the sound that was holding down the streets.

“I always wanted to make a project with [producer] Boi-1da, just like exclusively his brand of music… like just hard shit, just snap as much as I could and get as many joints done as I could,” Drake told Beats 1 Radio in 2016. Drake adopted this heavily trap-influenced style all through 2015 — and it worked. Records like “Know Yourself” and “6 God” were strong renditions of the bubbling Atlanta-based sound, and the project was well-received by fans and critics alike. A track like “Energy” set the stage for Drake to get into a braggadocios bag and rap with a more aggressive delivery than what fans typically heard from the Canadian rapper.

The victory lap of What a Time to Be Alive found its massive moment, too, and propelled St. Louis producer Metro Boomin into stardom via a few undeniable records like “Jumpman” and “Big Rings,” and set up the record-breaking Summer Sixteen Tour the following year.

Dipping Into Dancehall (2016-2017)

In January 2016, Rihanna dropped “Work,” featuring Drake, as the lead single to her eighth studio album, Anti. The record’s blend of reggae, pop, and dancehall — a Jamaican sound that Rolling Stone called a “sleeker, rowdier descendent” of reggae that incorporates more electronic sounds and rhythms — made it an instant smash. Looking at the wide audience and international success that “Work” and Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” garnered as No. 1 songs in multiple countries, it made a lot of sense for Drake to step into that lane. He’d already flirted with the idea of doing more dancehall-leaning tracks with “Find Your Love” back in 2010.

This strategic experimentation eventually earned Drizzy his first Billboard No. 1 record as a lead artist with the Afrobeat, dancehall-influenced hit “One Dance” later that year. In a sit-down with DJ Semtex, Drake spoke proudly about the influence U.K. singer Kyla’s “Do You Mind” had on the record. (He enlisted her for “One Dance” as well.) “I love that tempo, that cadence, and those melodies,” the rapper said. “That’s the kind of music that makes me happy in life. It was great to be able to make something like that and to shine a light on a song from the U.K. that deserves it.”

He built upon these international sounds throughout 2016 on his fourth album, Views, and his “playlist” More Life in 2017 with tracks like “Controlla,” “Passionfruit,” “Blem,” and “Madiba Riddim.” He flexed his versatility in his rhymes, too; on the loosie “Two Birds, One Stone,” he declared, “I rap like I know I’m the greatest and still give you tropical flavors / Still never been on hiatus.”

New Orleans Bounce And Beyond (2018)

Despite the mixed reception of Drake’s fifth album, Scorpion, 2018 can be argued as Drake’s most impressive year, in great part due to the strength of his singles. “God’s Plan,” “Nice for What,” and “In My Feelings” all hit No. 1, giving him a career total of six chart-topping hits. Two of these were exercises in Bounce, a high-energy southern style of music rooted and based out of the eclectic culture of New Orleans. It had previously been immortalized on Juvenile’s “Back That Azz Up” in 1998 and personified by the N.O. legend Big Freedia, who features at the beginning of “Nice for What.” Drake attempted to pay homage to the sound back in 2011 on Take Care’s “Practice” and more recently on Views’ “Child’s Play,” but there seemed to be a lack of precision in his execution.

With “Nice for What,” Drake was able to successfully tap into and uplift a Bounce style that was under-appreciated by the mainstream. With Big Freedia’s vocals on the backdrop of an upbeat Lauryn Hill-sampled banger, Drake knocked another feel-good No. 1 record out the park. It was only right that months later, “In My Feelings,” a song in the same vein, would take the country by storm. By sampling “Smoking Gun” by Magnolia Shorty and sprinkling in vocals from the City Girls and Lil Wayne, it captured an authentic southern New Orleans vibe. Shiggy’s Kiki Challenge also gave the song an additional boost, propelling it from mere hit song to cultural moment.

A decade after So Far Gone, Drake’s story is still being told through his public successes and fallouts, while being detailed through his deep-cuts and mainstream smashes. But what musical territory will Drake venture into next?

Was his Spanish-language hit “Mia” with Bad Bunny a preview of a future run in the Latin-trap scene? Will he continue to build upon the chemistry he and Memphis producer Tay Keith showcased on hard-hitting records like “Nonstop” and “Sicko Mode?” Only time will tell, but coming off of a 2018 campaign where he explored a range of different musical styles to relentlessly dominate the charts, fans will be undoubtedly be locked into wherever Drizzy takes them next.

Avril Lavigne And Nicki Minaj’s ‘Dumb Blonde’ Is Like The Sassy Sister Of ‘Hollaback Girl’

Would you believe me if I told you the hottest power pop duo today is Nicki Minaj and Avril Lavigne? Believe it, because the brazen Queen MC and the former punk princess have joined forces for a feisty new kiss-off anthem, “Dumb Blonde,” which is like the love child of Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl” and Hoku’s “Another Dumb Blonde.” (You’re welcome for that blast from the past.)

The first two singles from Lavigne’s new Head Above Water era — “Tell Me It’s Over” and the epic title track — found the singer in more emotional, mature territory, but “Dumb Blonde” brings back the sneering attitude she was once known for. “I ain’t no dumb blonde / I ain’t no stupid Barbie doll / I got my game on/ / Watch me, watch me, watch me prove you wrong,” she asserts on the foot-stomping chorus.

Over a rattling drumline, her fellow hell-raising bombshell Nicki chimes in, “All the hatin’ you was doin’ got the Barbie poppin’ / Now all of them wanna be a Barbie, I’m watchin.'”

Prior to the song’s release, Minaj opened up about how she’s a long-time fan of Lavigne’s. “I used to drive to my job @ Red Lobster playing this woman’s album for an hour straight everyday for months,” she shared, name-checking “I’m With You” and “Sk8er Boi” as her favorite jams. “This woman is so unbelievably talented.”

Lavigne returned the love, calling Minaj “legendary” and tweeting, “Nicki is such a talented, strong woman and driving force. Having her on the song is so special to me.”

“Dumb Blonde” is the latest taste of Lavigne’s Head Above Water — her first album in six years — which arrives this Friday (February 15). Welcome back, Avril!

Even After 21 Savage’s Release, the Unsettling Reality of His Arrest Remains

By Isabelle Morrison

Since his mixtape debut in 2015, Atlanta-based rapper 21 Savage has become one of the hottest names in hip-hop today, churning out hit after hit, and establishing himself on the Billboard hip-hop charts with tracks like “No Heart” in 2016, “Bank Account” in 2017, and most recently, “A Lot” featuring J. Cole, in 2018. His second studio album, I Am > I Was, released at the end of 2018, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. Needless to say, he’s a formidable presence in the music industry.

On February 3, Savage was arrested in his Atlanta hometown by U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, better known as ICE. Born Shéyaa Bin Abraham-Joseph in the U.K. in 1992, Savage has lived in the U.S. for nearly 20 years after immigrating here legally as a 7-year-old, his team later confirmed. Though his visa expired in 2006, the government has known about his immigration status since he filed for a U visa in 2017.

ICE Spokesman Bryan Cox provided the agency’s side of the story: “U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested unlawfully present United Kingdom national Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph AKA ’21 Savage’ during a targeted operation with federal and local law enforcement partners early Sunday in metro Atlanta. Mr. Abraham-Joseph was taken into ICE custody as he is unlawfully present in the U.S. and also a convicted felon.” Despite ICE’s claims, Savage’s legal team insists he currently has no criminal convictions.

Indeed, throughout the years, Savage has given back to his community, establishing the “Bank Account” initiative in 2018, a financial literacy campaign which educates teens in Atlanta about smart money management, and hosting his yearly “Issa Back to School Drive” event to aid the Atlanta school system’s childhood education, resources on anti-bullying and mental health, and school supplies.

Nevertheless, Savage, the father of three American-citizen children, was detained in one of the most brutal immigration detention centers in the United States, on “lockdown” for 23 hours a day with no access to any form of media or communication, besides 10-minute phone calls. Prior to his Tuesday (February 12) release from detainment on bond, he was denied bail of any amount, and faced possible deportation.

Savage’s arrest drew an outpouring of outrage and support for Savage from the music community on social media over the course of the past week. But at the 61st annual Grammys held this past Sunday — where Savage was nominated for two awards for his feature on the multi-platinum record “Rockstar” by Post Malone, and was set to perform alongside Malone at the ceremony — he received little acknowledgement, leaving many viewers disappointed. Prior to the ceremony, Savage’s co-manager Justin Williams took to Twitter to also announce that the Grammys would not be giving Savage’s mother tickets to attend the ceremony on her son’s behalf.

Though Malone was photographed wearing a shirt that read “21 Savage” backstage, any tribute to Savage onstage during his performance of their collaboration was noticeably absent. In fact, Savage’s part in the song was completely cut from the performance. Fellow rappers Drake (who collaborated with Savage on his 2016 hit “Sneakin”) and Cardi B (who collaborated with Savage in 2018 on another hit, “Bartier Cardi”), were also silent about the issue during their moments in the spotlight. The only mention of Savage’s name came from a brief shoutout by Swedish composer Ludwig Göransson during his acceptance speech for Childish Gambino’s “This is America,” which Savage is credited on.

After the show, Savage’s management tweeted that they had reached out to several artists to stand in solidarity with him and perform his verse during the performance of “Rockstar,” but those artists declined.

On Sunday — the same night as the awards ceremony — a heartbreaking video began to spread on Twitter. In it, a young woman with the display name Yulisa pleaded with the internet to help find her mother who was discreetly taken by ICE. Through sniffles, Yulisa explains that her mother had just been released from Harris County Jail in Houston, Texas, when she disappeared. Authorities told the girl they’d seen her mother get on public transportation, but that night, her mother never came home. Instead, she received a brief phone call from her, saying she was with ICE. According to her tweets, ICE had taken her mother into custody under a completely different name and nationality, falsely labeling her as Mexican when she is in fact from El Salvador. The girl says she has sought help from the ICE immigration centers in her area, but they could not provide her with any information regarding the whereabouts of her mother.

Based on Yulisa’s account, ICE has the capacity to flat-out lie and fabricate information about individuals — a claim that is dangerous for all POC in America, regardless of immigrant status. Black immigrants, a rapidly growing population in the U.S., are even more vulnerable as ICE has increasingly worked with federal and local law enforcement under the Trump administration, and Black people are likely to face racial profiling and be targeted by law enforcement — Savage’s highly-publicized arrest is a reminder of this.

The exclusion of Savage from the Grammys comes as a shock, as artists have used the awards show as a platform to speak up about political issues in recent years — whether to critique our current president, or to show support for survivors of sexual harassment and assault. 21 Savage’s arrest should’ve been no different, as it underlines a stark and undeniable reality: Because of the Trump administration’s corrupt immigration enforcement, Black and brown immigrants are truly that easy to discredit and erase.