Grammy-nominated rapper 21 Savage was arrested in Atlanta early Sunday by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), according spokesperson Bryan Cox. The agency says he is illegally living in the United States, report CNN and the BBC.
The rapper, Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, came to the US in July 2005 aged 12 and failed to leave when his visa expired a year later, officials said.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement said he was from the UK and was being held for removal proceedings.
He has previously described a childhood in Atlanta during interviews.
In an interview with Fader magazine in 2016 he said he had first seen a gun at the age of eight - although the article did not specify where this incident had taken place.
The 26-year-old is also quoted in the interview as saying he was expelled from school in Atlanta aged about 12 or 13 for taking a gun to class.
"His whole public persona is false," an ICE spokesman said.
An attorney for Abraham-Joseph said his representatives were working to secure his release.
"We are working diligently to get Mr. Abraham-Joseph out of detention while we work with the authorities to clear up any misunderstandings," Dina LaPolt said in a statement to CNN. "Mr. Abraham-Joseph is a role model to the young people in this country, especially in Atlanta, Georgia, and is actively working in the community leading programs to help underprivileged youths in financial literacy."
Image credit: AFP