Show And Prove: Bobby Shmurda Is Brooklyn’s Latest Fresh Face
Show And Prove: Bobby Shmurda
Words Emmanuel Maduakolam
Show & Prove is our section in the magazine where we highlight which artists are hot in hip-hop now. Many who have appeared in S&P have gone on to launch successful music careers. Here is the story from Bobby Shmurda from our October/November 2014 issue featuring G-Unit, available on newsstands now.
This summer, a 20-year-old unknown from Flatbush, Brooklyn, named Bobby Shmurda, became the hottest young rapper in hip-hop when a clip from his locally buzzing record "Hot Nigga" exploded on Vine. The video showed six seconds of the rap newbie doing his self-titled #ShmoneyDance and became an instant viral hit. By July, “Hot Nigga” was flying past 1 million YouTube views, Shmurda was sharing stages with Meek Mill, Raekwon and Drake, and everyone from Beyoncé to Rihanna to Chris Brown was spotted doing the Shmoney Dance. Not bad for the rapper’s first real release.
The #ShmoneyDance craze painted the Jamaican-American as the fresh face of a new generation of Brooklyn rappers like Troy Ave, Joey Bada$$ and Flatbush Zombies who have emerged in the past three years. But hip-hop wasn’t always in the cards for the upstart. Growing up, the rookie rhyme slinger, born Ackquille Pollard, was frequently expelled from schools, finding himself in and out of juvenile detention centers. Rap was just a hobby he picked up when he was 11, freestyling over Crime Mob’s “Knuck If You Buck” and Busta Rhymes’ “Touch It” with his friends on the block. But the call of the streets ultimately derailed him. “From 2006 to last year , I was just gangbangin' and sellin' drugs,” says Shmurda.
He eventually earned his GED at Crossroads Juvenile Detention Center in Brownsville, Brooklyn, returning to his group of friends in June 2013. That summer, Shmurda christened his crew GS9—God’s Selected Few—and a month later turned back to rapping after his friend Abillion convinced the rambunctious rhymer to get into the studio. “Hot Nigga” was the first song GS9 put out last summer, and the track caught fire locally. But it wasn’t until he dropped the video in March of 2014 that the song began spreading beyond Flatbush. Major labels came calling quickly after, and Shmurda signed to Epic Records in July 2014.
“I saw superstar potential,” says Sha Money XL, EVP of Urban A&R for Epic Records. “He's here to stay. This is our generation's superstar.”
Now with the summer over, the rising MC is turning his attention to a new EP titled Shmurda She Wrote, with guest appearances from Chris Brown, Yo Gotti and Drake, due out this fall. His main focus is proving to everyone that he’s more than just a one hit wonder. “I love people who doubt me,” Shmurda says. “I’ve never been a talker.”
It’s time. —Emmanuel C.M.