Bobby Shmurda was on the come-up in 2014 until it all came crashing down with his headline-making arrest that December.
“Hot Boy” landed at No. 1 on Billboard‘s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, reached No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified platinum in less than 50 days, which attracted Epic Records to sign the young MC. The ultra-viral “Shmoney Dance” from his homemade “Hot Boy” music video moved from the now-defunct app Vine to Beyoncé and Rihanna‘s hips. His early superstardom even struck Drake, who invited him up onstage at a concert.
All eyes were on the Jamaican-American artist, from the biggest names in hip-hop… to local law enforcement.
On Dec. 17, 2014, just nine days after performing his Hot 100 top 10 hit on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, New York Police officers arrested Shmurda (real name Ackquille Jean Pollard) along with 14 other members of GS9, an East Flatbush-based gang and the rapper’s record label, on charges of conspiracy, reckless endangerment and gun possession outside Quad Studios. Shmurda has been behind bars ever since for the last six years, but the latest reports state he could be released as early as next month.
Billboard compiled a timeline of Bobby Shmurda’s case below:
Dec. 17, 2014: NYPD arrest Shmurda and GS9 members after long-term investigation
NYPD officers arrest Shmurda and 14 GS9 members after a yearlong investigation related to their possible involvement in shootings and narcotics trafficking. The rapper is arrested on charges of conspiracy, reckless endangerment and gun possession outside Quad Studios in New York City around 4 a.m. Police found around 21 guns and a small amount of crack cocaine during the sweep, according to authorities.
Dec. 18, 2014: Shmurda pleads not guilty to gun and drug charges
The then-20-year-old rapper pleads not guilty at a hearing in Manhattan Supreme Court and is ordered held on $2 million bail, which was reportedly around the same amount as his Epic recording contract.
Jan. 29, 2015: Shmurda, Rowdy Rebel & GS9 plead not guilty to all charges
Shmurda, fellow Epic Records-signed rapper Rebel, and 13 members of their GS9 crew all plead not guilty to 101 charges including narcotics sales, murder, assault and weapons possession. The judge refuses to lower Shmurda and Rebel’s respective $2 million bail during a hearing at Manhattan Supreme Court, where prosecutors characterize Shmurda as the “driving force” in GS9. For the most serious of his conspiracy charges, Shmurda was looking at 25 years in prison.
Feb. 4, 2015: His bail package gets withdrawn, extending his stay in jail
Shmurda’s $2 million bail arrangement is put on hold, thus keeping him in jail.
Feb. 7, 2015: Shmurda tells Billboard about life in jail and how he’s being perceived by the court
In an exclusive interview with Billboard, the viral “Hot Boy” artist speaks from the Manhattan Detention Complex about life in jail while dispelling rumors that he had been stabbed. “It’s nothing but rumors, man. I’m good. Everybody knows I’m good,” he says, remaining in good spirits while discussing his potential to get out on bail.
“We’re trying, but right now I think the DA and the judge and everyone in the court is being biased. It’s so crazy. The favoritism, yeah. They don’t have no evidence, no nothing on me for the bill to be so high,” he says. “When I see the judge and the DA, I just see a bunch of people [who are] trying to take my life away for being blessed. That’s what I look at when I look at them. It looks like a bunch of haters.”
June 26, 2015: His trial date is set after he rejects a plea deal
The “Shmoney Dance” creator, Rebel and their GS9 crew appear in Manhattan Supreme Court again to receive a collective court date of Oct. 5, 2015. Shmurda’s attorneys previously refused an eight-year plea deal he was offered. The judge also sets a separate meeting for Aug. 19 to determine if Shmurda’s case should be tried separately from the larger GS9 case.
July 23, 2015: Shmurda and his girlfriend plead not guilty to smuggling him a knife in prison
Shmurda and his 18-year-old girlfriend Kimberly Rousseau plead not guilty in Bronx Supreme Court after he’s accused of having Rousseau smuggle him a knife into Rikers Island, where he was imprisoned, and lying about it to a grand jury. (The Bronx Criminal Court has jurisdiction over Rikers and the case was treated separately from his conspiracy indictment in December 2014.) He could’ve faced an additional seven years in prison (on top of the previous 25 he faced for the 100-plus charges as part of the GS9 case) on felony and misdemeanor charges for promoting prison contraband, perjury and criminal possession of a weapon.
Oct. 5, 2015: Shmurda loses another bail bid
Shmurda appears with his third attorney on the case, Alex Spiro, in Manhattan Supreme Court, where Page Six reports that the judge denied him bail once more.
Dec. 2, 2015: Initial reports that Shmurda could be a free man begin surfacing
TMZ reports that Shmurda could be a free man nearly one year after being placed behind bars after his family offered up collateral toward his hefty $2 million bail (that his label Epic didn’t pay) and was working closely with New York bondsman Ira Judelson.
Dec. 3, 2015: He’s denied bond for the sixth time
After yet another hearing in Manhattan Supreme Court, the rapper is denied bond for a sixth time. The judge rejects the new bail package his family had organized in a sealed proceeding, which put the case back on its previous schedule with Shmurda’s next court date set for Jan. 11, 2016.
Dec. 16, 2015: Martin Shkreli offers to bail out Shmurda
The CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, otherwise known as “Pharma Bro,” tells HipHopDX that he wants to help out a fellow Brooklyn native. “We’re actually in discussion to try to bail out Bobby Shmurda,” Shkreli says. “Forget whether you think he’s guilty or not, the guy should not be sitting in jail right now. It’s insane. He’s from Brooklyn. I’m from Brooklyn. He deserves a fair trial. He deserves good lawyers. He doesn’t have good lawyers. His label is hanging him out to dry and so I have a conference call tomorrow morning with them. I’ll show up with $2 million bail money no f—ing problem. He’s not going to flee the country. I’m not going to lose anything. I’m going to try to make that happen. That’s one thing I’m working on.”
Unfortunately for Shmurda, Shkreli was arrested by the FBI one day following the interview’s publication and charged with securities fraud.
Jan. 11, 2016: Shmurda’s attorney questions detectives’ credibility in court hearing
During the rapper’s Jan. 11 court date, Spiro requests records from the Special Narcotics Prosecutors’ office indicating that two of the lead detectives on the case had “credibility issues” that included accusations of planting evidence, false arrests and 4th Amendment violations over the past two years in other cases. The case is adjourned for a week, while the defense and prosecution attempt to resolve Spiro’s discovery applications. Shmurda remains in jail on the $2 million bail, with his trial set to begin Feb. 22.
Feb. 25, 2016: He discusses feeling “targeted because of my rap music” in new interview after February court date gets pushed back
After his Feburary court date is delayed until May 11, Shmurda tells Revolt TV that he feels unfairly targeted in his case, especially after doing his research in the Westchester County Corrections law library. “I feel like what they’re doing right now is what they do to a lot of people when they don’t have no case on them… I was targeted because of my rap music, it’s crazy,” he says.
May 2, 2016: Shmurda sues the NYPD for alleged false arrest on gun and drug charges from separate 2014 incident
Spiro confirms to Billboard that Shmurda is suing New York City for a false arrest on gun and drug charges by the NYPD. The federal lawsuit has no connection to his arrest on Dec. 17, 2014, and instead details an incident from June 3, 2014, when Shmurda was arrested at a friend’s Brooklyn apartment and police claimed he tried hiding a handgun inside a couch before they allegedly ransacked the place without a search warrant. Officers not only failed to produce any gun or drug paraphernalia, but Shmurda claims in the suit that they were “chanting the lyrics to his chart-topping songs” during his arrest. The charges were eventually dismissed, but as a result of the arrest, Shmurda claims he suffered permanent “nervous shock and mental anguish.”
May 9, 2016: His May court date gets postponed again
The rapper spends four more months in jail after his trial is pushed back to Sept. 12 at the request of Spiro, marking the trial date’s fourth postponement over the course of one year. (His date was previously delayed by one day from May 11 to May 12.)
Sept. 9, 2016: Shmurda accepts plea deal
After previously refusing an eight-year plea deal in June 2015, Shmurda, Rebel and a third co-defendant Nicholas McCoy accept a plea deal from the prosecution in a Manhattan Supreme Court hearing, agreeing to serve seven years in prison rather than risk trial, which had been scheduled to begin jury selection three days later on Sept. 12. The three plead guilty to 4th-degree conspiracy to criminally possess a weapon and 2nd-degree criminal weapons possession, which concurrently carry a sentence of seven years. Under the terms of the deal, Shmurda isn’t allowed to appeal but receives credit for time served — which was nearly two years at that point — leaving five years remaining on his sentence. Official sentencing for Shmurda, Rebel and McCoy is set for Oct. 19.
Sept. 16, 2016: Shmurda explains why he took the plea deal in new interview
Shmurda and Rebel speak to Complex about taking the deal and the hip-hop takeover they were plotting upon being released. “I did it for Rowdy. They offered me five [years] and offered Rowdy 12,” Shmurda says about his GS9 cohort. “They said the only way they’ll give him seven is if I took seven, too. So, you know, I had to take one for the dawgs.”
“If we made bail, I would’ve beat the case,” Shmurda adds, saying how the circumstances would’ve been different had they made bail. “We look guilty in these orange jumpsuits. If you put Al Sharpton in an orange jumpsuit and accuse him of having a gun, he’s going to be found guilty. They just look at our skin color, and look at where we’re from. I didn’t get caught with anything on me and the cops lied, saying they seen me with a gun in my hand. I explained the whole situation to Epic and they were behind me all the way. We had big-money lawyers and they still couldn’t do nothing because of the judge, who looked at us like black thugs.”
The two reveal how they’ve been in good spirits by keeping themselves busy with miscellaneous creative projects, from putting together mixtapes such as their joint The Last of the Real release and Rebel’s Shmoney Keep Calling Pt. 2 to working on a movie Shmurda described as “better than Get Rich or Die Tryin’ and Belly put together,” referencing films from rappers 50 Cent and DMX, respectively.
Oct. 19, 2016: Shmurda is sentenced to seven years
The rapper is officially sentenced to seven years in prison in Manhattan Supreme Court five weeks after accepting the aforementioned plea deal.
Dec. 1, 2016: He’s offered a reduced plea deal in smuggled knife case with his girlfriend
The Brooklyn-based rapper appears in Bronx Supreme Court again for a separate felony case when he was indicted in June 2015 on the charge of promoting prison contraband, after his girlfriend was allegedly caught passing the rapper a “sharpened metal object” while visiting him at Rikers Island. Prosecutors offer him a plea deal that would lessen his charge to attempted promoting prison contraband, which would carry a 1-4 year sentence and run concurrently with the seven years he’s already serving in accordance with the plea he accepted in September in Manhattan Supreme Court.
Feb. 2, 2017: He extends his prison sentence after pleading guilty to promoting prison contraband
Shmurda and his girlfriend Rousseau plead guilty to promoting prison contraband after initially pleading not guilty in July 2015. He accepts the aforementioned plea deal, which extends his jail time by an additional 1.3 to four years while serving his seven-year sentence.
April 16, 2018: Shmurda announced to be eligible for parole in 2020
July 19, 2018: He speaks on potentially getting out in 2020 in new interview
In a phone call with This Is 50, Shmurda lays out how he wants to pick up his burgeoning rap career where he left off once he’s a free man. “When I get out, we’re going to f— everything up. I got two years, 2020. You know how that sh– goes,” he says. “I like to see real n—as doing their thing with more constructive sh–. I hope a lot of motherf—ers learn from me.”
Oct. 2, 2018: Shmurda’s mother says he’ll be able to come home for the holidays in 2020
The rapper’s mother Leslie Pollard takes to Instagram to post a wide-grinning Shmurda with a hopeful message about his return in the next 25 months, around November 2020. “One of those mornings but the time is ticking 25 months he will be here soon…..Can’t wait til Thursday to kiss his face,” she writes.
March 25, 2019: He teases dropping “a bunch of mixtapes” once he’s no longer behind bars
Shmurda calls in to SiriusXM for an interview, where his spirits seem to be getting better and better — and he notes that his new music is too. “I got a lot of new sh–. I got a bunch of mixtapes. I got a bunch of albums ready,” the “Hot Boy” rapper claims. “I’m just ready to go. I’m not even worried about that sh–. It’s just getting better and better.” His claims about coming home in 19 months jibe with his mother’s previous calculations back in October.
Sept. 15, 2020: Shmurda is denied parole and given new maximum sentence expiration date in December 2021
Following his interview with with the Board of Parole, the rapper is denied release and given a hold until the maximum expiration of his sentence on Dec. 11, 2021, Billboard confirms. His latest parole hearing was originally set for mid-August 2020 until it was pushed back one month.
Jan. 4, 2021: He’s reportedly granted conditional release in February
The latest report of Shmurda’s long-awaited release states that he’s been granted conditional release from the Clinton Correctional Facility on Feb. 23, 2021, while his release date remains set for the end of the year. Time Allowance Committee, which consists of prison staff, came to this decision that restored his previously lost “good time” off his maximum sentence. If released, Shmurda will be under parole supervision (but bad behavior could nullify his early conditional release), and he will serve the remainder of his sentence under community supervision.