21 Savage is a free man—for the time being—but while detained by ICE, he was subject to a flurry of memes and online jokes about his unfortunate legal situation. Yet, in a new interview with The New York Times, Savage revealed that the memes had no impact on him because he has real life experience to contend with.
"Some of them was funny—I ain’t gonna lie," Savage told writer Jon Caramanica in reference to the memes circulating social media. "I was appreciative of that. I coulda been another person who just, 'He locked up? Damn' and nobody said nothing. Some people, I see why they was mad. It ain’t about the meme, it’s about the bigger picture. But I done been through way worse things in my life than somebody putting me on a meme. I been shot—what is a meme? A meme is nothing. That’s something on the internet that I can do like this [turns over phone] and never see again. I look at bullet scars every day, so it’s like, a meme, bro?"
This is a fantastic perspective. When you've lived through what 21 Savage has lived through, of course, a few online memes would mean nothing to you. Additionally, seeing the memes as a statement that the culture cares about his situation is a great spin on a situation where certain fans were up in arms about the jokes being lobbed 21's way.
21 Savage's response here is an important reminder: there is real life beyond the internet and when dealing with tangible circumstances, in Savage's words, "a meme is nothing."