Bobby Shmurda Eligible for Release From Prison in February
Brooklyn rapper Bobby Shmurda, whose rapid rise in the music industry was interrupted when he was arrested in 2014 for conspiracy and gang arrest, will be released from prison next month, the New York State Department of Corrections said on Monday.
Shmurda, 26, whose legal name is Ackquille Pollard, was sentenced to seven years in prison in October 2016 after pleading guilty to conspiracy and gun possession in connection with his leading role in the GS9 gang, an offshoot of the Crips in the East Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn.
Shmurda was denied parole in September, partly due to disciplinary action against him while he was incarcerated, and he was then ordered to serve his maximum sentence until December 11, 2021. Following a review by the Corrections Department, Shmurda’s recognition for good institutional behavior was restored, making him eligible for a conditional release from February 23, provided no further incidents occurred. The remainder of his sentence was to be served on parole.
“I’m glad he comes home,” said Alex Spiro, a lawyer who represented Shmurda in the criminal case.
Before his arrest at a Manhattan recording studio in December 2014, Shmurda went viral thanks to a hit single known in its edited version as “Hot Boy” and a related meme taken from the social media app Vine Rise in hip-hop that showed him throwing his hat in the air and doing his trademark “Shmoney Dance”. Mimicked by Beyoncé and in NFL touchdown dances, the move helped send “Hot Boy” to # 6 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The then 19-year-old Shmurda signed a seven-digit contract with Epic Records for several albums. However, while waiting for the trial and unable to pay his $ 2 million bail, he complained that the label had abandoned him. “When I was locked up, I thought they would come pick me up,” he told the New York Times in an interview, “but they never came.”
In the years since, Shmurda, despite only releasing a handful of songs, has become something of a folk hero in rap; His release from prison was eagerly awaited by fans and fellow artists. His close associate, Rowdy Rebel, who was convicted of the same case, was released on parole last month.
While behind bars, Shmurda was disciplined for numerous violations of fighting and possession of contraband, which damaged his reputation with the probation authority. In a partial transcript of the probation hearing published by New York magazine, Shmurda said he “tried to learn how to defend himself” while detained on Rikers Island and called the prison “just a crazy place”.
Shmurda is currently being held in the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, NY, according to the Department of Corrections inmate database.
He told the parole board last year that he hoped to get back to rap and the entertainment business while also advising children from areas similar to those he grew up in. “I was young, I was just a follower,” he said, “and then I got older, I started making music and then I saw my life start on a different path, but my past just caught up with me . ”
In a recent interview with NPR’s Louder Than a Riot podcast, Shmurda suggested that he should have started rapping sooner. “I would never have been on the street, you know what I mean?” he said. “My biggest regret is not to follow my dreams sooner.”