Atlanta rapper 21 Savage wants kids to use brains, not bullets, in anti-gun program

ATLANTA — A well-known Atlanta rapper has a message for young people who insist on using guns: brains beat bullets any day.

Rapper 21 Savage, whose real name is Sheyaa Joseph, told Channel 2's Tom Jones that he wants to do his part to stop kids from pulling the trigger and start thinking more about their education and money.

[PHOTOS: 21 Savage mentoring metro Atlanta kids on finances, careers]

"I don't like to just look at it and watch the bad," Savage said.

The rapper said he's lost too many close friends to murder.

"Like more than 15," he told Jones.

That's why he's passionate about raising awareness about the dangers of gun violence.


"It makes me want to tell kids to stay away from guns," Savage said.

21 Savage is partnering with Fulton County solicitor Keith Gammage for the Guns Down, Heads Up anti-gun initiative.

"The proliferation of firearms in our community is at an all-time high," Gammage said.

[READ: 21 Savage teaches kids about financial literacy, following their dreams]

Some 700 students are expected to attend the anti-gun violence summit Tuesday that is part of the new program.

There, they will hear from celebrities like 21 Savage, law enforcement, prosecutors, victims and the chief judge of the Georgia Supreme Court.

Gammage said Savage has made some mistakes in the past, but he's correcting them and helping others in the process.

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"We know that by having him speaking to the young people it will spread the message even more broadly. They will listen to him," Gammage told Jones.

Savage said he plans to tell the young people to focus on education and learn how to handle their money to make it grow.

He knows that can't happen if a young person prefers bullets over brains.

[READ: 21 Savage pays for funeral of 3-year-old killed in shooting]

"Guns kill people, so it's best to just stay clear of that stuff and just do the right thing," Savage said.

The Guns Down, Heads Up program will take place at the Georgia International Convention Center on Tuesday from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

There will also be a job fair as part of the program, which Savage said is the most important part of the event.