Brooklyn rapper Bobby Shmurda may have started off as an Internet sensation, but he's turning into a real life movement. For us, it all started a couple weeks back when we first peeped the video for Bobby Shmurda’s “Hot N***a” and its accompanying Shmoney Dance Vine. We posted the video on June 28, back when it had 450,000 views on YouTube. It’s now at 1.8 million. If that wasn't enough to prove he's capturing of the zeitgeist, look no further than all the hilarious mashups to the original Shmoney Dance Vine.
Or look to the stars. In the past few weeks, the 20-year-old rapper was offered a beat by DJ Mustard, brought out at King of Diamonds by Meek Mill, and graced the stage at the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival this past weekend as a guest of Raekwon. That wasn’t the only major look he got this weekend. While performing at Met Life Stadium as part of the "On The Run" tour, Beyoncé did what looked suspiciously like the Shmoney Dance on stage and Jay Z switched up the lyrics to "FuckWithMeYouKnowIGotIt" and spit, “Come Shmoney Dance with the goodfellas.”
With everyone talking about Bobby, we had him swing by the Complex office. If there were any doubts about this kid’s star power, we’re happy to report that he’s much more jovial, charismatic, and entertaining than the video for “Hot N***a” would have you think. He walked in like he owned the building and even joked with our production crew when they tried to mic him up saying, “I don’t do wires!” We get the feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more of Bobby, but for now, we had a quick chat about what major labels have reached out to him, how “Hot N***a” came together, and if he’s really been selling crack since the 5th grade...
Interview by Insanul Ahmed (@Incilin)
Obviously your song “Hot N***a” has blown up, but people want to get to know more about you. So, first off, where are you from?
Brooklyn. East Flatbush. 95th and Clarkson. Born and raised. But my family from down South, so I was always like the kid that was back and forth. My daddy locked up down South. Basically, if he wasn’t locked up I would have been a Florida kid. When my daddy got locked up, my moms moved up here. But my grandparents still there, my uncles still down there, so I be flying back and forth. I’m kind of a mixture [of North and South].
How did you get into rapping?
I got mad energy. Sometimes, I don’t know what some people be saying on songs, so I be remixing old songs. [Laughs.] I used to make my own version of every song when I was young. I used to remix mad 50 Cent and Jay Z songs. Back in the days, I used to listen to 2Pac, Biggie, Lil Wayne, Juvenile, Trick Daddy.
What was it like for you growing up?
Jungle. Growing up in the jungle. Gotta be hard. If you ain’t hard you ain’t gonna stand, you gonna fall. You gone break. Be in the house.
One of the standout lines from your songs is, “I’ve been selling crack since the fifth grade.”
Has it really been since the fifth grade?
Yeah. I was running with older guys, my brother and [his friends]. So by the time they was doing stuff, I was doing stuff. So they was in like 9th grade.
I’d always fight older guys. I got tough like that. So when I came across people my age, I was a monster to them.
So you were the young one in the crew?
Yeah. That’s why I grew up kind of hard, because they were always telling me, “Get out of here.” They used to pick on me the most when everybody would get high, but I [would be] standing my ground, fighting everybody. I’d always fight older guys. I got tough like that. So when I came across people my age, I was a monster to them.
How many brothers do you have?
I got one brother, but it’s like I got a group of brothers because in the building I grew up in, the kids my age in the building, we all grew up together since kindergarten. We would all go to the same school, go across the hall to each other’s houses. So it’s like I got five brothers really.
So are those the guys that make up GS9?
GS9 is the squad, that’s the family. The Shmurdas is my brothers [that I grew up with]. We was Shmurdas before GS9.
So where did Shmurda come from?
[Gestures Shh!] Shmurda.
How old were you when you first started remixing songs?
The first song I remixed was Crime Mob’s “Knuck If You Buck,” that was like 2004. I was mad young, we had built the studio in my house—got the computer, had some headphones, I started playing with it. We did that and had the hood going crazy.
Speaking of remixes, why did you choose to rap over Lloyd Banks’ “Jackpot” for “Hot”?
I heard that beat, and it spoke to me. That’s what music do to me. I been liked music, but I was always into other stuff. I got mad talent. But when I heard that beat I was like, I got to go on it. I had just came home from detention. So my friend was rapping and his music inspired me and I had bars from that little time, so he was like, “Just lay it down on a track.” I laid it down and that was “Hot Nigga.”
How long were you in detention for?
Fifteen months. I had caught a gun charge that got dropped but then I violated my probation.
Damn. So how did the video come together?
I made the song last summer and girls and everybody kept hearing it and saying, "You gotta shoot a video." We had the hood going crazy. People used to come on our blocks and steal the CD out the car. Like we’d all be talking and [someone would snatch it and run off.]
The video reminded me of drill music because it looked like an authentic look into street life in Brooklyn.
You right. But at the same time, not every kid in Brooklyn is like us. Not every kid is outside on their block doing the stuff we do. We be outside every day, like, we really outchea. I can’t talk for other kids. I won’t say there’s no other kids like us in Brooklyn, there’s a couple kids like us in Brooklyn. But not everybody. Kids go to school and all that, we been out here since forever.
How was school for you growing up?
I had ADD in school. I used to finish my work first and then I used to be running out the class. I had nothing to do. I could never stay still. I was fighting a lot. I used to be fresh with girls, I used to show off to girls.
How the girls treating you now?
Everybody want a piece of Bobby. [Shakes head.]
So how did “Hot” take off?
Well, we knew it was gonna take off because the first day we put it up, it got like 2,000 views. It was like, “Damn, that’s the first day. We just started rapping.” Other people from Brooklyn, they stuff be up for like five months and they only have like 5,000 views. Some be up for years.
Once the song took off, Meek Mill reached out to you. How did that happen?
One of my sons from the block, he rap too. One of his managers mess with Meek. The music ended up getting to Meek. They was FaceTiming, I was talking to Meek. He said he was gonna link up with me, next two weeks we was on stage together.
Right. He brought you out at King of Diamonds. How was KOD?
I was like damn, is this kid old enough to even be at KOD?
[Gestures Shh!] Love KOD. I wanna keep going back.
Besides Meek, has anybody else reached out to you?
Fabolous reached out, I was on stage with Fab. Yo Gotti reached out, we was in the studio with Gotti the other day. I heard Lil Durk reached out, I was trying to get back to him.
Did you guys put out the GS9 mixtape, Shmoney Shmurda, to capitalize on the buzz?
Everybody kept asking for more music, so we let that out to let people know we do got more music. I got on the block like, “I got CDs.” By the next hour, I had like $200 in my pocket. That’s $5 a pop. You know what my Auntie Benny said? She said, “They gone come for you like they came for Too $hort.”
You know what’s the funny thing though? I been entertaining all my life. Everybody kept telling me you need to be on TV. But I never used to pay attention to them because my mind was on other places, like where the money at.
I heard some people say one-hit wonder. I’m like, “If you think [‘Hot Nigga’] was it, I was playing with that.” So if you really want me to get busy... God sent me a sign. People from where I come from don’t make it to these places. A lot of people wouldn’t expect to be sitting here. I had meetings with millionaires. I ain’t never seen a millionaire. Probably the judge. [Laughs.]
Did you end up in front of the judge more than once?
How many times?
I’m done man, I’m done.
Well it’s good to put it behind you. You had to fight a lot of fights it seems.
I don’t fight no more. I Bobby with that thing. [Sings] Run up on him, act a fool! Act a fool! [Laughs.]
Have you been talking to any labels?
A couple of labels, Sony, Atlantic, shit like that.
So what’s next?
I’m gonna get mixtapes out, singles, videos—everything you can think of I got coming at you. T-shirts, a lot of shows. My future is bright. I’m gonna be doing movies; I wanna be doing everything. I’m trying to be like the new 50 Cent. I’m trying to do sneakers, some watches, some water. I’m trying to sell it all.
You're trying to get into acting?
Yeah, I’m trying to do a movie with Kevin Hart. We gotta do a brotherly movie. I could be the little big brother, he could be the older one. [Laughs.]
You know what’s the funny thing though? I been entertaining all my life. Everybody kept telling me you need to be on TV. But I never used to pay attention to them because my mind was on other places, like where the money at. I didn’t care about stuff, I was too busy in the trap all day. People was going to parties, I never wanted to go to parties. I’m singing and dancing on the block looking for the [customers]. This is what I like to do: I entertain for fun. People like me off what I do. I said, “This is what ya’ll like? Being me? I’ll be me all day and get paid.”
How did you entertain people growing up?
I was telling jokes, doing dances, doing pranks.
What kinda pranks?
Don’t go to sleep. [Laughs.] We used to be in the trap late nights and say, “Whoever go to sleep first, lift it up.” The first person to go to sleep, we be putting the spliff to his nose, hot sauce on the tongue, toothpicks on your face, water. And we’d record and put it up.
Please don’t tell me you was up on SmackCam.
Nah, that’s one thing I don’t play with: smacks. My mother always told me, “Don’t let nobody spit on you or smack you.” You could punch me, whatever, but don’t smack me. [Laughs.] I might lose it after that.