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21 Savage Raps About Police Harassment On Childish Gambino’s ”12.38”
21 Savage reunites with Childish Gambino on “12.38.” The track appears on Gambino’s new album, 03.15.20, which is now available on streaming services after premiering on his website last weekend. Gambino co-produced the track with DJ Dahi.
On his verse, 21 Savage raps about being harassed by police:
The police keep harassin’ ‘cause I’m rich and I’m black
They mad ’cause I made myself a boss without crack
21 could be alluding to his February 2019 arrest by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). At the time, the law enforcement agency claimed he was a British-born national whose non-immigrant visa expired in July 2006.
The rapper’s lawyer later clarified that 21 first arrived in the US at seven years old. After briefly leaving the country, he returned in 2005 under a nonimmigrant visa, which expired in 2006. He applied for a still-pending U-Visa application (as the victim of a crime) in 2017.
21’s lawyers later theorized that lyrics on his hit single, “a lot,” which criticizes US immigration policy and family separation at the border with Mexico, may have played a role in him being targeted by ICE.
On the extended version of the track, he raps:
Been through some things, but I couldn’t imagine, my kids stuck at the border
Flint still need water
N*ggas was innocent, couldn’t get lawyers
“That was the deepest thing,“ 21 told Billboard about the song. “People will be going through a lot of stuff, but you’ll never know what they’re hiding behind their smiles. Like, nobody would ever know that I wasn’t born here.”
Listen to the song above, and read all the lyrics to Childish Gambino’s “12.38” featuring 21 Savage on Genius now