'The UK's my home,' says removed rapper Cashtastic

08/04/14

A south London rapper who last month was removed from the UK says he wants "justice" so he can return.

Cashtastic, whose real name is Cashief Nichols, arrived in the UK 15 years ago.

The 20-year-old was born in Jamaica and grew up in Peckham. Last year he signed a record deal with Universal.

In March the rapper was ordered to leave the country by the UK Border Agency (UKBA), it's thought he does not hold the correct papers.

Speaking exclusively to Newsbeat from Jamaica, the 20-year-old says he wants to return to the UK.

"I'm born in Jamaica but the UK's my home.

"What I need is for something to be done so I can return properly and get some form of justice," he says.

Rapper Cashtastic, real name Cashief Nichols in Jamaica
Image caption Rapper Cashtastic has been getting used to life back in Jamaica

Cashtastic attended both primary and secondary school in England.

He said: "Everything is just a culture shock. It's nothing to what I expected, it's like me going to Japan or something.

"It's literally me going to somewhere I've got no knowledge of."

I received a text saying, 'Sorry Cashief we really tried but they are adamant that they need to get you out of the country'
Cashtastic

The rapper's track, Life On The Edge, premiered on Mistajam's 1Xtra show last month.

He was due to appear on the show but had to pull out because he was being held by border agency officials.

"While the track was being premiered I was in a holding room with handcuffs on," the 20-year-old reveals.

Cashtastic was signed to Universal Records last summer and his debut mix-tape Alarm Clock was released in February.

Rapper Cashtastic, real name Cashief Nichols
Image caption Cashtastic featured on BBC Radio 1Xtra before his removal from the UK

The exact reasons why he has not been allowed to stay in the UK are unclear.

On removal a spokesman from the Home Office said they were unable to comment on individual cases.

However, they released a statement which read: "When an individual is found to no longer have the right to remain in the UK, we expect them to leave the country voluntarily, but if they fail to do so we will seek to enforce their removal."

Cashtastic's local MP Simon Hughes contacted the Home Office in an attempt to stop the rapper's removal.

"Because the case had been before the courts on several occasions we couldn't win an argument with the Home Office at that stage," Mr Hughes says.

Cashtastic says he only heard this news when he was already on the plane.

"I received a text saying, 'Sorry Cashief we really tried but they are adamant that they need to get you out of the country,'" the rapper told us.

He now doesn't have any family in Jamaica and explains he had nowhere to go when he arrived.

"In my head I was just thinking when I get to the airport there'd be a message saying 'take him back' but as soon as I got there nothing was done," he says.

"No phone calls were made nothing was organised no money, no address."

The musician is staying with someone he met whilst detained.

Jamaican scenery
Image caption Rapper Cashtastic says going back to Jamaica is a 'culture shock' for him

Mr Hughes is hopeful the matter can be resolved.

"The good news is that although Cashief is back in Jamaica he is able to appeal from outside the UK," he says.

In support of the MC returning to the UK, musician Kano says: "He has lived here since the age of six and is now a role model, tax-paying professional in the music industry. This is wrong."

Cashtastic says the support from everyone has been overwhelming and he assures fans he'll be back.

"Don't worry I'm still going to be doing music. Before you know it I'm going to be back in the UK, just keep fighting for me," he adds.

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