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Is Hov the Godfather of rap? How Jay-Z is blessing 21 Savage in ICE case

When I think of what a ‘Godfather’ is or what their functions may be, I can’t help but remember the 1972 crime drama starring Marlon Brando and Robert DeNiro. And although most families aren’t crime organizations, the concept of the role is the same: an OG or overseer to ensure all things are well.

Now, with reports that Jay-Z has hired legal help to assist 21 in his impending case with ICE officials, I think it’s safe to say that Hov has transitioned into much of the same figure in rap.

News broke that the 21 was here illegally on an expired Visa on Super Bowl Sunday and by that following Wednesday, Hov had his team in place to help. Jay wrote on Facebook,

The arrest and detention of 21 Savage is an absolute travesty, his U visa petition has been pending for 4 years. In addition to being a successful recording artist, 21 deserves to be reunited with his children immediately, #Free21Savage.”

Additionally, Alex Spiro, The attorney Jay Z hired, told Variety they weren’t going to stop until the I Am > I Was rapper is released, bonded out, or put in front of a judge.

“What we have here is someone who overstayed their Visa with an application pending for 4 years—not a convicted criminal that needs to be detained and removed but, by all accounts a wonderful person, father, and entertainer who has a marijuana offense which was vacated and sealed,” Spiro said.

21 Savage’s team also released a statement yesterday confirming that rumors of him actually being born in the United Kingdom, except adding that he entered the United States at 7, not 13 as reported,  then left the country and returned again in 2005 only to have his visa expire in 2006.

“We are unaware of why ICE apparently targeted Mr. Abraham-Joseph, but we will do everything possible to legally seek his release and pursue his available relief in immigration court,” the statement reads.

While the 21 Savage case may be far from over, I can’t help but notice Jay-Z’s interference and eagerness to play big brother as a trend. He’s really become an elder statesman of the hip-hop industry.

Just last year we saw how instrumental Jay was in aiding Meek Mill when he was incarcerated after a petty dirt bike charge which violated a decade long probation Meek’s had since a teenager.

In response, Jay-Z wrote a passionate op-ed for The New York Times about Mill’s unjust imprisonment and, according to the Philly rapper, spent millions of dollars helping him get free. In an interview with Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club last year, Meek explained how it helped saying,

“JAY-Z is actually responsible for some of my legal fees, which I thought was the dopest in the world because it was some millions of dollars. I don’t even think I could have afforded it,” Mill admitted, though he said he was still able to take care of his family while he was locked up.

Although Meek is signed to Jay-Z’s artist management company, Roc Nation, Jay-Z’s extended support, much like with 21, sets a precedent and is unheard of in rap.

Jay has long preached financial responsibility and buying black and investing back into your hood, but the way he’s taking a lead on social issues and matters that affect the rest of rap is setting a tone for generations to come.

Jay-Z, Meek Mill. Patriots owner Robert Kraft and other successful businessmen have joined together to establish a criminal justice organization called The Reform Alliance to lobby for changes to state probation and parole laws — just another way Jay-Z is showing how to use your platform.

21 has three children who are US citizens and although his paperwork is indeed wrong, they expired when he was a child, thus making it “no fault of his own,” according to his lawyers.

Jay-Z’s company Roc Nation says a person charged with “visa overstay” should be allowed to be free while they fight their case. One can only hope they’re victorious in this matter.

It’s hard to imagine, with all the timeless music Jigga has made, that outside the booth he has surpassed what he’s done musically. If he can spark other rappers to use their platform as he has done, there might be a good case.

FREE 21!