21 Savage Reflects on Earliest Memories of London and Atlanta, Says He Got Called ‘Taekwondo Kid’ After Fight

21 Savage details his earliest memories of life in London and his family’s move to Atlanta in the latest episode of Shannon Sharpe‘s Club Shay Shay podcast.

At the top of the extensive conversation, 21, whose new album American Dream recently debuted atop the Billboard 200 chart, reflected on spending the first few years of his life in London, where he was born. As previously reported, 21 performed outside the U.S. for the first time in 2023 after becoming a lawful permanent resident earlier that year. The Grammy winner’s immigration battle was recently depicted in the Donald Glover-featuring American Dream trailer.

“I remember, like, small things but not a lot,” 21 said when asked about his earliest memories of being a child in London. “Like, little small things like going to my grandma’s house or being with my momma. I remember going to the stores across the street. … I remember more from when we back and visited because we went back once to visit when I was a little older.”

Asked to compare the two, London and Atlanta, 21 was quick to point to the overlapping characteristics shared by many cities. 

“It is, but it ain’t though” he said when asked if Atlanta was different from what he was accustomed to at that time, “To me, it looks different but it’s the same shit.” A key difference, he explained, was how much bigger and more expansive everything felt once he got to the States.

All told, 21 said he “liked it” in Atlanta right away, despite not having much memory of his mother’s initial decision to move the family to Georgia. As 21 remembers it, the plan wasn’t to necessarily make the move permanent. At the time, 21 was around six years old.

“We just stayed,” he said, adding that they returned to London to visit roughly five or six years later. Then, and again in 2023, the city still “felt like home” to him.

Deeper into the first chunk of Sharpe and 21’s discussion, the recent Travis Scott collaborator was asked about arriving to Atlanta with a different accent than the one he’s known for now, specifically whether this was noticed by other children at school. This spurred 21 to recall a fight he got into on his first day of elementary school, joking that it resulted in him being referred to as “Taekwondo Kid” by his schoolmates.

“I got in a fight on the first day of school, on God,” 21 recalled. “They used to tease me. … I get on the bus or whatever. They start talking to me. So they making fun of me on the way to school. So we get on the bus to go home, they making fun of me on the way home. One of the older dudes, his little brother was the main one, so the older brother said something like, basically, ‘Shit, fight him!’ So we get off the bus, I beat him up.”

Several children who witnessed the fight then ran to 21’s house to tell his mother.

“I really was kicking a lot,” 21 said. “They started calling me ‘Taekwondo Kid.'”

Watch the full interview up top. American Dream is out now.