After accepting a plea deal earlier this month that could have him serving up to seven years in prison, rapper Bobby Shmurda and his GS9 cohort Rowdy Rebel spoke with Complex about taking the deal, how they are spending their time behind bars and the hip-hop takeover they are plotting upon their release.
Shmurda (real name Ackquille Jean Pollard) was arrested in December 2014 at New York’s Quad Studios on gun, conspiracy and drug charges at the height of his success with his 2014 breakout hit “Hot Boy.” He said he accepted the seven-year deal to help lessen his co-defendant Rebel’s sentence. “I did it for Rowdy. They offered me five [years] and offered Rowdy 12,” he said. “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.” Rebel (born Chad Marshall) and other co-defendant Nicholas McCoy also accepted the deal.
Rebel and Shmurda then spoke of their relationship with Epic Records after the label did not pay the $2 million bail. “The situation with Epic is the reality: We made our own bed and got to lay in it,” said Rebel. “We did expect for them to help us and get us out, but from my knowledge it wasn’t on Epic to bail us out, it was Sony, because Epic’s under Sony. So when it came to it, Epic was willing to do it, but Sony had to sign off the checks to get us out and they didn’t want to sign. I don’t hold no one responsible for nothing.” Shmurda added, “It’s business. These people are going to look at you a certain way when these charges come up.”
Shmurda also commented on how circumstances would have been different had they made bail. “If we made bail, I would’ve beat the case,” he said. “We look guilty in these orange jumpsuits. If you put Al Sharpton in a 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.”
Being incarcerated for almost two years doesn’t appear to have dimmed their spirits as both Rebel and Shmurda have been working on several mixtapes like The Last of the Real and Rebel’s forthcoming project Shmoney Keep Calling Pt. 2. Shmurda says he will also be releasing some books and is working on a movie that he describes as “better than Get Rich or Die Tryin’ and Belly put together,” referencing the films from rappers 50 Cent and DMX. Shmurda and Rebel have also been listening to other up-and-coming rap stars like Kodak Black, Lil Uzi Vert and Young M.A.
Shmurda adds that he has spoken with other artists while cooped up in the pen. “I talked to Travis Scott, Shy Glizzy, Migos, that’s about it. Meek Mill always asks about us, too. He could feel my pain. I feel like a lot of n—as in the rap game ain’t do what I did in these streets and a lot of n—as in the streets ain’t do what I did in the rap game. I still feel like a lot of people don’t feel where we come from.”
The official sentencing for Shmurda, McCoy and Rebel is scheduled for Oct. 19.