At long last, the hip-hop community can celebrate the release of Bobby Shmurda. After spending six years at New York’s Clinton Correctional Facility for charges of conspiracy, reckless endangerment and gun possession, the Brooklyn rapper born Ackquille Pollard was released on Tuesday (Feb. 23).
In 2014, Shmurda became a Big Apple breakout story with his hit record “Hot N—a.” His bravado, street appeal and signature hat toss in the song’s video made him an instant sensation in hip-hop. From Beyonce and Rihanna paying homage to his sizzling hit with the “Shmoney Dance” to Drake bringing him onstage at one of his concerts, Shmurda quickly climbed the mainstream ranks, while his single climbed into the top 10 on the Hot 100 and went No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
With Shmurda and his GS9 partner Rowdy Rebel — who was also charged for the 2014 incident — both free, can they become a driving force in New York once again? A few of Shmurda’s peers spoke to Billboard about what his comeback means to the culture.
“I feel like it’ll be a win for all the real people. I feel like a lot of fake people been winning. [There’s] a lot of trolls and s–t, [but] I feel like that’s going to come to an end. It’s going to be back to real music. For a minute, R&B was gone. I wanna be one of the people [to] rejuvenate that s–t with just being real. Real music comes back around. That’s what him coming back is going to signify.
“All that troll s–t is going to go out the door, because it’s looking corny now. It’s gonna go out the door, but with Bobby, I think it’s going to be good. I think bruh is going to be heavily respected for what he stood on. His comeback is going to make all the fake people fade away for real.”
Royce Da 5’9’’
“I think he’s going to come back and defy the odds like us young Black men do all the time. There’s something to be said about somebody who can give so much of their life to this f—-d up crooked system that is the American jail system. He’s gonna get out and he’s gonna realize all the ways in which he’s behind the 8-ball. He’s gonna be able to measure that against the success he achieved prior to going in there, and he’s going to put so many things into perspective and we’re going to be so embracing. Everybody’s going to step up and help him in so many ways that it will damn near be impossible for him to fail.
“I’m gonna be rooting for him, and if I see someone not rooting for him, I’m gonna have a problem with that person. How could you root against any of your own, but especially Bobby? I can’t wait for the young brother to be free and see his family and really enjoy this s–t the way he was always supposed to.”
“It’s a big jump for New York. I think just people being happy about him being home is enough to give him exactly what he needs to do, music-wise. I hope that him and his people continue to just focus on what they need to focus on and what’s important, ’cause there’s money to be got. There’s families to feed. N—-s that go through stuff like that, they don’t do this s–t to have to go through that. Those are learning lessons and those are things where we can have a moment to embrace them now that he’s out. Whatever he drops, we pressing play.”
“Him coming home is going to be legendary for New York. That’s major. Soon as he gets back, he just has to come with them hit records. I’m pretty sure he’s going to be good. Shout-out to Bobby. Shout-out to Rowdy. Welcome home. We gonna have something in the works very soon and it’s going to be legendary.”
“It depends, but it’s probably going to make a lot of noise. We have to see. It depends if he comes out and lays low, or if he comes out and starts going crazy and starts dropping records. If he does that, we know it’s going to be crazy.”