21 Savage’s Team Shares New Statement Confirming He Was Born In U.K.

Since 21 Savage‘s recent detainment by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, questions have swirled around about the truth of the agency’s claims of his birthplace and immigration status. TMZ reports that through his legal team, the rapper – born She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph – has released a statement that confirms that he was born in the United Kingdom and offers clarity on ICE’s claims as he seeks to be released from detainment.

The statement says that in addition to being born in the U.K., he came to the United States legally when he was seven years old. “He remained in the United States until 2005, when he departed for approximately one month to visit the United Kingdom,” it reads. “He returned to the United States under a valid H-4 visa on July 22, 2005.” It goes on to say that he’s been in the country legally for almost 20 years, although his legal status expired in 2006 “through no fault of his own.”

Another of the revelations is that he has a pending application for a U visa, which is “set aside for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are helpful to law enforcement or government officials in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity,” according to U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services. “This U visa was filed as a result of being the victim of a deadly shooting in 2013,” the statement reads. “That visa was filed in 2017 and remains pending. When granted, the U visa will afford him lawful status in the United States.”

It also makes the case to let him out on bond, saying, “Mr. Abraham-Joseph is not a ‘danger’ to the community as his acts of philanthropy and goodwill, as well as his music, continue to improve the communities from which he comes.”

21 Savage was detained on Monday by ICE on Monday following a “targeted operation” on Atlanta rapper Young Nudy, who 21 Savage happened to be with. At the time of his arrest, ICE released a statement saying that the rapper “initially entered the U.S. legally in July 2005, but subsequently failed to depart under the terms of his nonimmigrant visa and he became unlawfully present in the U.S. when his visa expired in July 2006. In addition to being in violation of federal immigration law, (21 Savage) was convicted on felony drug charges in October 2014 in Fulton County, Georgia.”

Soon after, the rapper’s attorney, Charles H. Kuck, shared his own statement saying the rapper’s detainment by ICE was “based on incorrect information.”

Dina LaPolt, another of his lawyers, gave a statement to CNN saying “We are working diligently to get Mr. Abraham-Joseph out of detention while we work with the authorities to clear up any misunderstandings.” Read the full statement from 21 Savage’s team right here.

Travis Scott’s ‘Can’t Say’ Video Should Come With A ‘Don’t Try This At Home’ Disclaimer

Travis Scott‘s videos are usually wild, but they’re never this wild. Scott’s video for “Can’t Say” is not for the faint of heart; it’s more for those seeking the kind of thrill chased by the cast of Rocket Power in the late 1990s. In the video, styled and produced by Saint Laurent (cue the imposing, black-suited motorcyclists), the rapper cranks up the danger to the max. Check it out for yourself below.

“Can’t Say” is predominantly black and purple, but mostly black. Almost immediately, Scott is shown to be the maestro of what looks like a biker gang that prefers to wear suits instead of jean jackets emblazoned with logos. Repeatedly, he stands up without any kind of protective gear mid-ride while the riders behind him do equally dangerous wheelies and other stunts. It’ll make your heart skip a beat. Elsewhere in the visual, we see loads of nicely rendered CGI horses, cars, and gigantic faces. It’s a wild, chaotic scene. But those motorcycle stunts at the beginning are what will be seared into your eyelids when it’s over.

Scott’s lively video will keep you on your toes, but it might not be entertaining enough for James Blake, who fell asleep in the midst of a conversation with the rapper in the video for “Mile High.” This past Sunday, Scott performedSicko Mode” at the Super Bowl with an awesome introduction from SpongeBob Squarepants. “Can’t Say” appears on his 2018 album Astroworld.

From Dua Lipa To H.E.R., Meet The 2019 Grammy Best New Artist Nominees

At just 21 years old, Jorja Smith writes universally-adored songs — probably because, as she once humbly put it to MTV, “I’m quite good at just writing for everyone.” In 2016, her self-released “Blue Lights,” a slinky meditation on police brutality, broke big on Soundcloud, and less than a year later, she was waving goodbye to her sleepy hometown of Walsall, England.

A slew of singles followed, including high-profile collaborations with Drake, Stormzy, and Kendrick Lamar, who tapped her for the Black Panther soundtrack cut “I Am.” Since then, she’s taken her place in the roster of R&B artists whose sounds are dominating streaming — Ella Mai, Daniel Caesar, etc. — and her debut album, Lost & Found, arrived last year to pull off a most uncommon feat: delivering on the hype.

Frank Ocean Is Teasing New Music With SZA, Andre 3000, And Kendrick Lamar – Or Is He?

Frank Ocean, the elusive mystery musician, is preparing to release new music — or is he? New posts on his Tumblr page this morning hint at what appears to be music coming on March 1. SZA, Kendrick Lamar, and André 3000 all look to be involved — and beans, there’s going to be beans in there somewhere?

The brief and mysterious post featured the March date in bold lettering followed by the names and initials of three music figures; Solana is the first name of SZA, K and L are Kendrick Lamar‘s initials, and André is the first name of Outkast legend André 3000.

Beneath these three giant names is a phrase that reads best at lunchtime: “Here for the beans.” What kind of beans aren’t specified, and there are oh so many. (Baked, black, and pinto are three that immediately come to mind.)

A separate post keeps the cryptic motif going. “? (2019) ? (2019) ? (2020),” it reads. Is Frank Ocean playing with the world? Or is something more devious going on behind the scenes?

Soon after these strange posts went up, another appeared, this time with a weird request that included an Instagram link. “If this post gets 25,000 likes I will release the Frank Ocean song featuring andre, kendrick and sza (it’s a legit song),” the latest post reads. Could this be the work of a troll?

Frank’s spent the last couple of years mucking with people’s expectations by sporadically sprinkling music – “Moon River” in 2018, “Chanel,” “Provider,” “Biking” and Lens” in 2017 – and bits of personal information into the ecosystem. In January, he posted a snippet of his take on SZA’s “The Weekend” to his Instagram Story.

At the tail end of last year, Frank released two significant episodes of his Beats 1 Radio show “blonded RADIO,” one that aired (in three parts) in November about voter suppression another that aired in December about the holidays. He also opened up his Instagram account to the public and showcased snapshots from live performances along with other random insights into his day-to-day life.

Through all of that though, the Frank drought has been real. He released a visual album, Endless, in 2016 followed by his sophomore studio album, Blonde, a day later. Hopefully, this bean-obsessed mystery is the start of something bigger. Hopefully, it’s just real.

BTS Are Poised To Make Their Grammy Debut

The 2019 Grammys are right around the corner and those burning questions that have been broiling since nominees were announced in December will finally be answered. A nice surprise that has been unveiled is that BTS, demigods of K-pop, will hit the stage at the ceremony on Sunday (February 10) to present an award, according to Variety.

BTS’s presence there extends beyond handing off a token of achievement to someone else. The global phenomenon band is nominated for Best Recording Package for their Love Yourself: Tear album (alongside branding company HuskyFox who is responsible for the design), making them the first-ever K-pop act to receive the honor.

As for who else will be presenting awards at the ceremony, we’re not quite sure because the official list hasn’t been announced yet. The Grammy Awards Premiere Ceremony that takes place immediately before the main event has had some of its presenters revealed, though: Kalani Pe’a, Lzzy Hale of Halestorm, Questlove, TOKiMONSTA, Cécile McLorin Salvant, and former Recording Academy Chair Jimmy Jam will all be on stage dishing out trophies.

The Grammys have also confirmed a slew of music’s biggest names to perform onstage. Brandi Carlile, Miley Cyrus, Cardi B, Kacey Musgraves, Camila Cabello, Shawn Mendes, H.E.R., Post Malone and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Diana Ross, and Janelle Monáe are all set to hit the stage.

Alicia Keys is the host that will herd the event’s disparate parts into the right direction on Sunday night. Catch the show on CBS at 8 p.m. ET.

Loren Gray Wants Her ‘Queen’ Video To Make You Feel Like Royalty, Too

Loren Gray is already a bona fide star, boasting more than 15 million followers on Instagram and signed to Virgin Records. But with her latest single “Queen” and the release of its equally-royal music video, Gray’s fans expect 2019 to be the 16-year-old singer’s biggest year yet.

As she begins that breakout year, Gray caught up with TRL about how she’s empowering her fans (and herself) with “Queen,” having a vision come to life with the song’s music video (which you can watch below), and going back in time to share advice with her 11-year-old self.

TRL: In the “Queen” video, you’re truly royalty, from the lyrics to the wardrobe. What was it like for you to act out this royal fantasy?

Gray: It was awesome! Honestly, I’ve never been dressed up like that; it was a crazy experience. I helped with the [music video] treatment and it was my vision, so to have it actually come to life was insane.

TRL: Did you have that vision for the video as soon as you recorded the song, or did you develop that later?

Gray: I definitely had an idea, especially when I heard the track. It’s such a dark and epic-sounding song, and I wanted that to reflect in the video. I wrote the treatment a few months after I wrote the song, but I definitely knew what I wanted back when I was writing it.

TRL: Absolutely! The music video was directed by Ariel Michelle; you posted on Instagram about the importance of having such a talented woman direct the visuals for “Queen.” What was it like to work with Ariel on this project?

Gray: I definitely wanted a woman to direct the video because this song is such a female-empowering song, so that was really important to me. Her vision was exactly what I wanted and it came out amazing. This music video was a big deal for me, as it was for Ariel, so it was a really special experience.

TRL: And with yours and Ariel’s visions combined, what do you hope your fans feel when they watch the “Queen” video and listen to the song?

Gray: I hope they feel empowered! I mean, that’s why I wrote the song. I wrote it at a time when I needed a boost of confidence and the video’s a kind of fantasy, right? It’s not realistic, but it’s very empowering.

A lot of people have even tweeted me saying “This is my anthem!” or realizing “This boy is treating me not how I should be treated.” It can open people’s eyes to how they do deserve respect in a relationship. In any kind of relationship or friendship, you deserve the most respect – and deserve to be treated like a queen!

TRL: Of course! I know you also posted behind-the-scenes footage of how you had to sing at double the speed while filming the slow motion scenes. Was that a difficult thing to get right on set?

Gray: Actually, I was surprised at how well I did with that! It was crazy, it was so fast. At first, they wanted me to do it at one-and-a-half speed, and then they asked, do you think you could do it double speed? I was like, um, let me hear it! They played it, and I gave it a try and it worked out!

I love the way that Ariel had that idea to contrast the slow-mo and the real-time footage. It was really dope and I love the way it came out.

TRL: It looks like “Queen” has now become your most-viewed music video to date! How have you felt about the reception to it thus far?

Gray: It was so amazing, because I put so much work into this video and so did everyone else on set. It’s truly the first music video that I’ve done that I was so, so excited for. I did another music video and I was excited for that one, but this one was on another level because it meant a lot to me.

I’m so glad that everyone’s enjoying it as much as I did when I first saw the video. I was actually in the studio with the producers who helped make “Queen” when we first all watched it together, and we were all blown away. It was exactly what I wanted, and everyone’s been tweeting me about it. The fact that it’s still growing is insane.

TRL: You’ve also said – and your fans have said – that this is your year. What else do you have in store for 2019?

Gray: Well, I definitely have quite a few songs dropping before March. There are some projects that I’ve been working on for a while, so I’m super excited for that. And an album at some point this year is the goal!

You know, music kind of works in a funny way where you just go with the flow. Whatever happens, happens. Sometimes you don’t have good music to put out and sometimes you do. And right now, I’m at the point where I have so much amazing music and I’ve worked with so many amazing people! I have so many things coming out that I’m so excited for.

TRL: Before you embark on the rest of your 2019, if you could go back five years, what would you tell 11-year-old Loren about what’s in store for her future?

Gray: Oh my gosh. I would tell myself to keep doing what I’m doing, because I’m exactly where I need to be. I think five years ago, especially, I wanted everything now, and didn’t want to wait for anything. I also was going through a lot with bullying and being in school, so I think that perseverance is a big lesson I would teach myself.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Surrounded By Fans And Family, Jussie Smollett Showed Strength In His Return

By Lucas Villa

After suffering what he described as a brutal attack last Tuesday (January 29), Empire star Jussie Smollett returned to the spotlight on Saturday night for an intimate concert at The Troubadour in L.A. While moving the crowd with his music, the visibly shaken singer-slash-actor also opened up about the incident that led to his hospitalization last week.

Smollett took to the stage alone, wearing pins on his pants that included a rainbow ribbon to support the LGBTQ community, a red stop sign that read “Stop Killing Us,” and a raised fist — a symbol synonymous with Black Power.

“I’m OK,” he said with tears in his eyes to a roomful of fans who applauded his words while offering support of their own. “I’m not fully healed yet but I’m going to. I’m gonna stand strong with y’all. I had to be here tonight. It sounds powerful, but I couldn’t let those motherfuckers win. I will always stand for love and I hope that you all stand with me.”

In what his family condemned in a statement as a “racial and homophobic hate crime,” Smollett, 36, was allegedly attacked in Chicago on the morning of January 29 by two men who put his neck in noose while screaming, “This is MAGA country!” Though Smollett’s concert at the Troubadour had already been scheduled prior to the attack, it wasn’t immediately known if the show would still take place. But on Friday, Smollett’s team let ticket-holders know that he would perform as planned but that meet-and-greets were cancelled for “security reasons.” Instead, fans were given the option of either receiving a refund for the VIP upgrade or letting the money be donated in their name to the Black AIDS Institute.

So, despite the pouring rain in L.A. on Saturday night, fans lined up around the corner to see Smollett’s concert. The situation also attracted the police, media, and assembled protesters, who called for the “end of the Trump regime,” to the small venue. Once doors opened, his supporters, family, and colleagues — including Empire creator Lee Daniels and Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters — filled the place up. The soulful hymns of June’s Diary, a group on Smollett’s Music of Sound label, opened the show before all of Smollett’s siblings appeared in front of the crowd afterward to further address the incident.

“If I’m honest, as his big brother, I wanted to Jussie sit this one out,” Joel Smollett, Jr. said before Jussie took the stage. “I sincerely wanted him to stay out of public until he heals, but after much debating, arguing, and many tears, my family and I realized that tonight is an important part of Jussie’s healing.”

Then, after Jussie took the stage himself and assured his fans that he was OK, the performer jumped out. “Let’s fuck it up and have a good time!” Smollett yelled before grooving to the funky “Freedom,” a cut straight from the Empire soundtrack.

Smollett was as animated while running through the music from his debut album, 2018’s Sum of My Music, and songs that were part of the Empire repertoire. Feeding off the crowd’s supportive response, he was laughing, joking, smiling, and even gossiping throughout the show. Before singing the sultry “Ha Ha (I Love You),” Jussie revealed he wrote that song about his boyfriend, who was also in attendance. “I see y’all looking up there,” Smollett said to nosy fans trying to scope out the guy during the performance. “Mind ya business!”

But, when reminded of the events of the past week, Smollett didn’t hesitate to make himself vulnerable to the room. While getting ready to perform “Heavy,” a song from Empire about the weight of representing a community, he shared, “It kind of has new meaning to me.” And a heartfelt ballad about acceptance was modified with the new lyrics, as he urged the audience to “stand up for each other / stand up for your sisters and brothers.”

From there, Smollett launched into “Hurt People,” another Sum of My Music highlight.

“It’s about the cycle of hurt,” he said. “The hateful rhetoric that gets passed around, it has to stop. But guess what? It stops with the people that lead with love.” Joined by June’s Diary, Jussie brought down the house with a pitch perfect performance that he punctuated by sending a pointed message to his assailants, and anyone who read the story of his alleged assault. “I fought the fuck back,” Jussie said, drawing loud cheers from the sold-out audience. “I’m the gay Tupac!”

In one last plea to his fans, Smollett said, “Now’s the time: Be blacker! Be gayer! Do it right the fuck now!” A feeling of solidarity with Smollett swept the room as it filled with roaring applause, raised fists, and hands formed into the shape of a heart.

We can all take action to stop racism and homophobia. To learn more about issues affecting the LGBTQ community, head to lgbt.mtv.com.

H.E.R. Is Psyched To Be A Breakout Artist In 2019: ‘Real Music Is Coming Back’

For years, R&B singer-songwriter H.E.R. diligently concealed her identity, letting her poetic, slow-burning music speak for itself. Little by little, though, she’s been peeling back the layers, giving her growing fanbase glimpses into the woman behind the soulful voice and the dark sunglasses. It couldn’t come at a bigger time for the 21-year-old, whose career reached a milestone in December when it was announced that she was nominated for five Grammys, including Best New Artist and Album of the Year. To hear H.E.R. — who’s MTV’s Push: Artist to Watch for the month of February — tell it, she’s finally where she’s supposed to be.

“It feels like the possibilities are endless,” she said. “It feels like, wow, I’m where I’m supposed to be. All my hard work is paying off. Everything I’ve dreamt about is here. My time is really now.”

That journey toward stardom — however unconventional it may have been in today’s social media-driven era of oversharing — began when H.E.R. was just a little girl. She grew up around music, and the first time she performed on stage was with her dad’s cover band at a local Bay Area festival, where she sang Alicia Keys’s “If I Ain’t Got You.” She later started writing her own songs and learned how to play the keyboard, guitar, and, at her mom’s urging, the bass.

“It was so cool, ’cause I was a young girl playing the bass. Not many females play bass,” she recalled.

H.E.R. still plays those instruments today — in fact, in her exclusive MTV performance of “Carried Away,” she effortlessly bounces between all three — and she believes that focus on instrumentation is making a big comeback this year.

“In 2019, a lot of real music is coming back,” she said. “And by real music I mean, like, real instruments are being used, and a lot of real stories. People are saying a lot of things with substance. It’s about the instrumentation and the musicality.”

She continued, “I’m really excited to be an artist in 2019, because I can showcase more of my musicality. I feel like I have, but this year is just different for a lot of artists. And I think a lot of female artists, too, are making a lot of power moves, and it’s great to see that.”

H.E.R. is unquestionably part of that class of musicians making power moves — she may have kept a low-key profile at first, but she’s now a high-key superstar, as evidenced by her handful of Grammy nods, millions of streams, and a loyal following that happens to include Rihanna.

“There’s many ways to receive music and the fact that I’ve touched so many people and am now nominated for five Grammys, it should give somebody hope,” she said. “You can do it. You don’t have to have a big huge label push or anything. Just say what’s on your heart and release it out into the world.”

Hey, it’s worked for H.E.R. See the singer’s performance of “As I Am” below, and check out more of her exclusive Push content here.

Big Boi’s Going On Tour In The ‘Family’ Reunion Of A Lifetime

Big Boi is the talk of the town right now. The legendary Atlanta emcee and lyrical half of Outkast showed out at the Halftime Show for Super Bowl LIII last night. Now he’s keeping the momentum going with the announcement of a reunion tour for Dungeon Family. The trek across the United States kicks off on April 14 in Chicago. Don’t worry, there is still plenty of time to get tickets.

Dungeon Family is the collective that birthed Outkast, Goodie Mob, Sleepy Brown and more over two decades ago. Joining Big Boi on tour for the reunion are Goodie Mob, Sleepy Brown, KP the Great, and Organized Noise. In 2016, the collective reunited at the ONE MusicFest in Atlanta where they played a medley of some of their greatest hits. It’s hard to imagine an entire tour‘s worth of these moments where nostalgia and smooth music embrace.

Big Boi jumped the gun of the announcement by releasing “Doin’ It” and “Return of the Dope Boi,” teasing an imminent comeback. That return to prominence was christened with his awe-inspiring, Cadillac-fueled, performance at the halftime show of Super Bowl LIII. He may have only played a couple of songs, but it’s his memorable medley that makes us excited for the tour. That, and the prospect of hearing “Shutterbug” live.

21 Savage Detained By ICE For Allegedly Overstaying Visa

21 Savage was arrested yesterday morning (February 3) by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for allegedly being in the United States illegally. Though he’s long been associated with Atlanta, the hip-hop hub that spurred his career and growth, ICE claims that the rapper, whose real name is Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, is actually a U.K. citizen and has overstayed his visa for more than decade.

In a “targeted operation,” a term used by ICE spokesman Bryan Cox in a statement, 21 Savage was arrested along with fellow Atlanta rapper, his cousin Young Nudy, and two other men early Sunday morning. After police officers ran Savage’s name through the system (Young Nudy and the two other individuals were apparently the target of the operation), he was handed over to ICE after the returned information revealed that his visa expired in 2006.

It’s interesting to note that 21 Savage has toured extensively and has yet to hit any public red flags like this before. His recent performance of “A Lot” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon featured changed lyrics that touched on the absurdity of immigration protocols in the country: “Been through some things but I can’t imagine my kids stuck at the border / Flint still need water / People was innocent, couldn’t get lawyers.” The show aired just last week.

21 Savage amassed a fanbase with his chilling street raps about Atlanta’s harshest neighborhoods, but that wasn’t the only story that he was telling. For the last three years, the rapper has hosted a children’s event called “Issa Back to School Drive” each August. Last March, he announced an educational effort for children’s financial literacy called 21 Savage Bank Account Campaign, named after his debut studio album Issa Album single, “Bank Account.” Last July, he donated $10,000 to fund an anti-bullying campaign to Atlanta’s Continental Colony Elementary School. His new album, I Am > I Was, which dropped in December, preached growth and becoming a better person.