“I made the record two years ago for Lloyd Banks’ [“Jackpot”], but it didn’t really pick up much steam and he never paid for it. Bobby brought it to life and turned it into a club anthem. He really took advantage of the track -- the way he flowed on it, the way he came in when the bass drops out, how he made the buildup go into the drop -- it was a work of art. People don’t think too deep into it, but there’s really a science to it.”
THE RAPPER: BOBBY SHMURDA
“I’m a former gang member. Before the song went crazy, before I started booking shows, I was still in the streets. My music career was on the block. I was getting a lot of love on Instagram, but [the song] wasn’t really that crazy on the streets. But after the video went viral, after people started tweeting it, people started pulling up on me on the block yelling. I’m like, ‘Damn, I can’t even be on the block no more!’”
THE MEME MAKER: VLADIMIR FRANCOIS
“The Shmoney Dance was very infectious -- his crew are all stepping and dancing in unison. His hat flip was a dope segue to the Shmoney Dance, and I wanted to capture that particular sequence. My Vine was looped perfectly -- the ‘hat that never came down’ stuck with people. The next weekend, I heard the song from a passing car. When I checked my Vine, I saw all the revines, comments and loops; they were at a million.”
THE TALENT SCOUT: SHA MONEY XL
(Executive VP Urban A&R, Epic Records)
“The last big group that made it out of New York was my crew, G-Unit. Ever since they split up, I was trying to find something in New York that made me that excited. In June, Steven Victor, Pusha T’s manager, sent me the video: ‘Sha, watch this right now.’ I met with Shmurda and didn’t let him leave. I wanted to be in business that day, not let him walk out and talk to some other label.”
THE LABEL BOSS: SYLVIA RHONE
“When we signed him, he did a pop-up show in front of our building on Madison Avenue. All of a sudden there were hordes of kids. I was in a club in the U.K. and they were playing the song and doing the dance like crazy. It’s great to see a Brooklyn kid start a movement around the world. He single-handedly brought back New York. We’re back in the hip-hop game because of Bobby Shmurda.”
Additional reporting by Timmhotep Aku.
This article first appeared in the Oct. 25 issue of Billboard.