Bobby Shmurda, a Brooklyn rapper whose real name is Ackquille Pollard, is currently in a Manhattan Detention Complex pending conspiracy and gun charges.
According to the New York Times, though, Epic Records isn’t interested in paying the $2 million required to bail him out. Pollard signed with Epic less than a year ago for a 7-figure, multi-album deal. He appeared on their radar after his song, “Hot Boy” (that’s the censored title), went viral. It peaked at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 after he signed his deal.
“When I got locked up, I thought they were going to come for me, but they never came,” he said in a recent interview.
Some of hip-hop’s biggest names, 50 Cent for example, have made pleas for Epic to assist Pollard, but that hasn’t made an impact either. In fact, they’ve declined any requests for comment on the situation.
At one point in music history, record labels were more than willing to bail their clients out: 50 Cent’s G Unit would have their rappers released from jail within hours of arrest, while Death Row Records paid Tupac Shakur’s bail in exchange for a deal.
Some in the industry understand why Epic wouldn’t want to be involved, while others believe that, especially considering how much the company has profited from Pollard’s music, it wouldn’t inconvenience them to assist him.
“These companies for years have capitalized and made millions and millions of dollars from kids in the inner city portraying their plight to the rest of the world,” Pollard’s entertainment lawyer, Matthew Middleton, said. “To take advantage of that and exploit it from a business standpoint and then turn your back is disingenuous, to say the least.”
City prosecutors say that Pollard is the “organizing figure” of GS9, a street gang connected to the Crips that the city has been watching since 2013. He’s facing as much as 25 years in prison with conspiracy, reckless endangerment, and gun possession charges. He has denied the charges.
Some of his childhood friends were also reportedly involved and also face charges; some of those include second-degree murder.
This situation has left Pollard reconsidering everything.
“I’m going to try my best to go back on the deal,” he said. “If not, I’ll give them their music and bounce.”
The reality is, though, that a recording contract is no small thing. An aspiring artist needs to enter that kind of agreement with a certain amount of knowledge, or at least alongside an attorney who knows what he’s doing. It’s more than a little naive for Pollard to expect the label to intervene and solve all of his problems, not to mention the fact that if he made those decisions, he now needs to suffer the consequences.