What's Goin' On
The Big Apple's latest rap hopeful Bobby Shmurda speaks from the pen.
Words Vanessa Satten
Images Phil Knott
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the Summer 2015 issue of XXL Magazine featuring our 2015 XXL Freshman Class. Check out everything from our Freshman issue right here.

On December 17, 2014, Epic Records’ budding new rap star, Ackquille Pollard a.k.a. Bobby Shmurda and members of his GS9 crew were arrested while sitting in vehicles in front of New York City’s famed Quad Studios. During the raid, the cops—who had Bobby and many around him under a long-term investigation, which resulted in the sting—arrested eight GS9 members and/or friends, including fellow rapper Rowdy Rebel, and found 21 weapons. More guys were arrested in the days after the bust, making it a total of 20 indicted.

Collectively, they were hit with over 100 separate charges including murder, attempted murder, weapons possession, conspiracy to commit murder and drug possession. Shmurda’s and Rowdy’s bail was set at $2 million apiece, which the judge refused to reduce. As of print, trial dates have yet to be set. [Ed. Note: Shmurda's next court date is set for today, June 25, where the judge is expected to select a date for trial to begin.]

Bobby is being charged with conspiracy, reckless endangerment, criminal possession of a weapon, criminal possession of a firearm and criminally using drug paraphernalia, but he told New York Magazine this past May that he’s innocent of all charges. Facing up to 15 years in prison, the Brooklyn MC counts on support from his family, friends and fans to keep his spirits high as he fights for his freedom.

Over the course of a weekend in late May, Shmurda—who rocketed to fame this year with the success of his breakout single “Hot Nigga”—checked in with XXL via three phone calls from NYC’s Rikers Island to talk about his fans, what he misses and not being a part of 2015’s XXL Freshman Class.

Hold your head.

XXL: How are you being treated? How are you feeling?
Bobby Shmurda: I’m good. I’m writing, keeping my spirits up. I’m being treated good by some of the C.O.’s, some of them be hatin’. Yeah, but everybody else be treating me good. I get it in the hallways, a lot of love from the inmates.

We visited Rowdy Rebel a few weeks ago and he says everyone in there flips when your song comes on the radio.
Yeah, yeah definitely. The whole house, when our song comes on, the whole house shows love like, “Yo Bobby, your song is on.” And everybody show love.

You were one of the artists that got pitched as a Freshman a lot by people in the industry and fans. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out with all you have had going on. Were you frustrated by that?
Not really a frustration. A disappointment, but not really a frustration.

You’ve got a trial coming up, what can you say about it?
Just pray for me.

Have you gotten a lot of mail from fans?
I got like two big folders full of mail. I’ve sent some mail back out to them.

So you do write back to some of them?
Of course I write back to them. Not to everybody, but I send them to those I can.

What kind of things do they ask you? What do they say to you?
They tell me they miss me out there and to keep my head up. They tell me if they had the money they’d come get me out themselves. Some of them say they working for it. Little cute things like that. They mean the world to me. They send me commissary, they make sure I got everything I need. They be asking if I need shoes or clothes, everything. They send meals and all types of stuff.

Have you gotten a lot of support from the industry and other rappers? Any visits?
I had a visit from one rapper. Maino came and showed me some love. He’s trying to get me out, too. I talked to Migos, I talked to French. I talked to Fab. I talked to Meek. Meek sent me some letters. I tried to send some back. I’m trying to get in contact with him. I got a lot of love for Meek Mill, man. That’s my guy right there, I got a lot of love for him right there, that’s big bro.

Who has been your biggest support system while you’ve been in there and going through all of this?
My support system is my fans and my family. I had a whole crowd with me when I was out and they ain’t really supporting me like that. So I know when I get back out they going to try to run with me again.

What have you been missing the most about your career, besides being out and being free?
We hear a lot of planes, so I miss being on planes. I miss being in the airport. I miss the traveling.

Seeing the world, right? The country?
Yeah, that experience.

How do you keep busy? Do you read? Do you write music?
I read and write. Been reading a lot of books.

What have you been reading?
The Cartel and stuff like that. Like, the whole five books. I’ve read a bunch of books.

You were in a bit of a fight in there recently. What happened?
It wasn’t really a big situation, it was a little altercation.

Do you regret anything?
I regret coming back to New York. These officers out here is very dirty. They was trying to tag me with a bunch of things before this, so I regret coming back to New York.

You mentioned to New York Magazine that some of the officers said that they didn’t want their kids listening to your music. Is that really something that they said to you? Do you feel like anything with you is an attack on hip-hop or is that taking it too deep?
Nah, I feel like there’s a lot of animosity with them. These cops that are from Brooklyn, they trying to catch me and a lot of them. They was trying to catch me before, when I was doing shows. That’s why I ain’t really come to New York like that when I kinda blew up. I was scared.

Any messages for your fans?
That I love ’em. I love all my fans. Keep praying for me, I’ll be home soon.

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