Brooklyn-bred rapper Bobby Shmurda (real name Ackquille Jean Pollard) owned the summer (and much of 2014) with his infectious hit “Hot N*gga” that peaked at number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 after the accompanying visuals went viral. I remember the first time the 15-second snippet crossed my Instagram feed. This kid didn’t look older than 20-something, I thought. He threw his hat in the air then bent his knees and crossed his arms to the melody as he introduced the world to the “Shmoney Dance.” His crew, GS9 (who he mentions in “Hot N*gga”) were behind him, pulling the triggers on imaginary guns.
Bobby was arrested Tuesday night, during a sting that involved multiple shootings and drug trafficking. According to reports, the arrest came after a long investigation by NYPD and a special narcotics prosecutor. Bobby was cuffed after sitting under surveillance outside an NYC studio. Reactions from fans have been mixed. Most weren’t surprised. Some posted “Free Bobby” and others laughed. But it isn’t funny. It’s sad. Black men in their 20s and early 30s face an incarceration rate of 40 percent. And when they aren’t being jailed, some of them are being shot and killed on the street by police or dying by other factors.
Bobby’s volatile lyrics are vocal diaries that chronicle his street life. “Mitch caught a body ’bout a week ago/F*ck with us and then we tweaking, h*e/Run up on that n*gga get to squeezing, h*e/Everybody catching bullet holes/N*ggas got me on my bully yo,” he raps in the video for “Hot N*gga” before hitting his famous “Shmoney” dance. Bobby clearly lives the life he raps about which is alarming in its own right.
Bobby’s rise to fame seemed imminent as he became the most buzzed about rapper, similar to Trinidad James last year. But Bobby, who already dropped a well-received EP “Shmurda She Wrote” didn’t seem like he was going to be a one-hit wonder. He was signed to a lucrative deal at Epic records and even Beyonce hit her”Shmoney” dance. Now, sitting in a holding cell waiting to be indicted, his future doesn’t seem so bright. And this isn’t Bobby’s first offense. He was arrested back in October for smoking weed while double parked and in June for weapons possession.
Unfortunately, Bobby’s fame came after a longtime relationship with the street and it’s downfalls. He isn’t the only one. African-Americans are 37 percent of those arrested for drug offenses which can be attributed to low-income living and generations of poorly educated family members; or in Bobby’s case precedents set by pivotal figures in his life. His father also has a history of incarceration.
“I been selling crack since like the 5th grade,” Bobby boasts on “Hot N*ggas.” It may be hard to understand why young Black boys turn to drugs or guns, but with little options, education or sight outside of their small community, it seems like a quick fix to a Black continuum.
My heart aches for my Bobby and my Black men who’ve found employment in the unforgiving streets. It hurts me that Bobby won’t get to enjoy his fame or breath easy living a crime-less life. I want more for my Black men.
Bobby’s indictment is sealed (the charges have not yet been disclosed) and he is scheduled to be arraigned today.
Tweet me your thoughts @Shamika_Sanders