Bobby Shmurda and Rowdy Rebel had the New York rap scene in the palm of their hands in 2014 after their respective breakout singles "Hot Nigga" and "Computers." But it all came crashing down when the Brooklyn rappers, along with other members of the GS9 crew, caught conspiracy, gun, and drug charges later that year. With bail set at $2 million, and the rappers' label home Epic unwilling to cut the check, it looked like the GS9 leaders' lives were over. However, last week they both took a plea deal, which will allow them to serve only seven years, including time served. With two years already under their belts, that leaves them with a maximum of five years left in prison, and the possibility of less with good behavior.
For the first time since taking the deal, Bobby, 22, and Rowdy, 24, hopped on the phone with Complex to talk about their spirits, the plea deal, and their plans for the future.
You guys just took a plea deal and could be out in a few years. What's next for you?
Rowdy Rebel: Basically right now, we get our minds right, our bodies right, our souls right. We’re putting together a couple of mixtapes for the streets to stay relevant. Me and Bobby have one called The Last of the Real, it’s going to be like 11 songs. I’m going to drop Shmoney Keep Calling Pt. 2 soon. Apart from that, we’ve got a couple new artists, some friends that we’re going to promote while we in here, that have a couple songs out there. My boy Chase Hound, who’s currently locked up, but he’ll be home by April. My little brother Fetty Luciano, he’s currently locked up, but he’ll be home in like 10 months. Right now we’re just staying positive. It ain’t over; we’ll be out in like three-and-a-half. We don’t want anyone giving up hope on us.
How is your relationship with Epic now? Why didn't the label bail you out?
RR: The situation with Epic is the reality: We made our own bed and got to lay in it. We did expect for them to help us and get us out, but from my knowledge it wasn’t on Epic to bail us out, it was Sony, because Epic’s under Sony. So when it came to it, Epic was willing to do it, but Sony had to sign off the checks to get us out and they didn’t want to sign. I don’t hold no one responsible for nothing.
Bobby Shmurda: It’s business. These people are going to look at you a certain way when these charges come up.
Yeah, and if they had bailed you out you wouldn’t have had time served.
RR: We could've had a better chance fighting it from outside. I would’ve had people in my corner, getting to know the real me. I didn’t get enough of a chance to talk to the people. We're in Manhattan and when it’s time to pick the jurors, it’s all Wall Street, Broadway people. I’m not that connected to those people; they don’t get to see me do good for any people. This might as well be another kid from the ghetto, rapping about this and that. You feel what I’m saying?
BS: If we made bail I would’ve beat the case. We look guilty in these orange jumpsuits. If you put Al Sharpton in a orange jumpsuit and accuse him of having a gun, he’s going to be found guilty. They just look at our skin color, and look at where we’re from. I didn’t get caught with anything on me and the cops lied, saying they seen me with a gun in my hand. I explained the whole situation to Epic and they were behind me all the way. We had big-money lawyers and they still couldn’t do nothing because of the judge, who looked at us like black thugs.
RR: At the end of the day, I still don’t hold them responsible for nothing. I’m here, I’m alive, I’m breathing, I’m going to go home real soon. And we’re going to go right back to where we came from. We’ve got some new dance moves. Look out for that mixtape coming soon. It’s going to come out around Halloween, and we’re gon’ turn up.
They got these kids running around with rape charges getting six months and they wanna give me seven years for a gun charge.
Why did you take the plea deal?
BS: I did it for Rowdy. They offered me five and offered Rowdy 12. They said the only way they’ll give him seven is if I took seven too. So, you know, I had to take one for the dawgs.
If you hadn't taken the deal, how much time were you guys looking at?
BS: The judge wasn’t really playing fair because he was letting a lot of stuff into court that wasn’t supposed to be. The only witnesses the DA had against us were lying cops. We had detectives lying, saying they seen us with guns in our hands, but when everything came back there was no DNA, no fingerprints, no nothing. My lawyer told me we don’t want to go to court in Manhattan with these white people because they’re going to be looking at me, a little black kid. Who are they going to believe, the word of this black kid talking about shooting shit up or the word of white officers? A jury is going to believe cops all day. We’re black kids, these are white people with badges.
This is why you tried to claim false arrest, right? That claim was thrown out.
BS: All the motions I put in, they denied them. They held my bail at $2 million for a gun charge. I copped out to seven years for a gun charge when this is my first offense. That’s how America is. They got these kids running around with rape charges getting six months and they wanna give me seven years for a gun charge.
RR: My boy copped out for me, you heard?
They put a stipulation into the plea deal that prevents you from appealing. Do you think that has something to do with your false arrest claim?
BS: All the guns they found were from around the neighborhood in garbage cans and shit like that. They didn’t find anybody with guns on them. If they don’t catch no gun on you then there’s no case.
What happened then?
BS: The judge in Brooklyn offered me eight months with a six-month program, but I didn’t take it because it wasn’t my gun. They let the person whose gun it was go and they came in the house with the gun and said it was going on me. The Brooklyn court threw it out. Brooklyn judges aren’t really doing anything; the Manhattan and Queens judges are slaying people, sending innocent people upstate. All they care about are convictions. They took it out of Brooklyn and into Manhattan because the Manhattan judges don’t play fair.
What about the prison phone-call recordings implicating you the cops allegedly had?
BS: That’s why I was scared to go to trial, because they have these phone calls with guys saying my name and this is he say, she say. They got people saying, “I heard he was shooting up this, shooting up that, doing this, and doing that." I know my law and recording only work in the Feds. The Feds ain’t pick this case up because it’s bullshit. The cops that arrested us wanted us forever. Brooklyn South guys are dirty.
They gave one of your fellow GS9 members, Rashid Derissant, 98 years.
BS: He’ll be back on appeal. And they gave my other co-defendant [Alex Crandon] 53 to life, shit's crazy. These my dawgs since Pre-K. They did that because they knew they were close to me.
Do you think you’ll have a rap career when you come home?
BS: I’m rapping, I’m acting, I’m going to have some books out. I want people to hear my story, they’re gonna feel my pain. I have three years to make a book happen. I got love for 50 Cent, I got love for DMX, but my movie’s gonna be better than Get Rich or Die Tryin’ and Belly put together, and it’s gonna be a true story. And I swear, I feel bad for somebody’s daughter because her back is gonna need some new bones and her vagina gonna need a tombstone. [Laughs.] They ain’t never gonna take my joy.
What was your lowest moment throughout this whole ordeal?
BS: Whenever I’m in front of a judge, that shit makes my stomach hurt. But when I leave the courthouse my spirits pick back up. I've lost things bigger than my music career. I’m a real nigga from the streets. I done lost friends, so them doing this to me isn’t that big a deal to me. My pops is doing 120 years, I have friends doing life, I have niggas in the grave.
When do you realistically think that you’ll get out?
BS: Should be home in about three years. This shit ain’t about nothin’.
What's your daily routine?
BS: We play ball, gamble a little bit, we do all types of stuff, we try to have fun. We call girls; Rowdy calls wifey, I call girls. [Laughs].
RR: Shit, I wake up around 10, 11, get the dawgs on the phone, make something to eat, go to the rec and work out. Might play ball, get on the phone, watch a little TV, play cards, for me. During my lock-in time I read my books or write letters.
Have you been writing raps?
BS: We come out the heart with it. When we in here we spit and have fun, dance to the new songs on the radio.
RR: I don’t really write raps like that, 'cause as you know, I go in the booth and just need some liquor and some weed, you feel me? It’s me and the beat. And I don’t have any beats; I don’t really be out my mind like that. Me and Bobby here together, so we hear songs from the radio, we listening to the radio, dancing around and turning up.
I got love for 50 Cent, I got love for DMX, but my movie’s gonna be better than Get Rich or Die Tryin’ and Belly put together.
What new music are you listening to?
BS: I like Lil Uzi Vert, Kodak Black, A Boogie, Young M.A, Bryson Tiller, Dave East.
RR: Right now, our song we like to turn up to is Lil Uzi and Wiz Khalifa's “Pull Up” and that other one Uzi got. [Sings "Money Longer"] “Savage, she call me daddy"—that one. You got to see Bobby’s dance moves to [Young M.A.'s “OOOUUU”], he’s going crazy to that too.
BS: [Laughs.] They call it dance moves but I just be having fun. I’m in here wildin’ out trying to make people laugh. We coolin’ in here and getting our mind together. When I go upstate, I’m going to get my GED and try to get me a college degree or something.
People haven’t been fucking with you in there and trying to test you?
BS: Nah, niggas know what it is. They don’t fuck with me, they don’t want no parts of this. They know what time it is.
Are you in contact with any producers?
BS: Not any producers, but I have talked to some rappers.
Who’s been hitting you up trying to hold you down?
BS: I talked to Travis $cott, Shy Glizzy, Migos, that’s about it. Meek Mill always asks about us, too. He could feel my pain. I feel like a lot of niggas in the rap game ain’t do what I did in these streets and a lot of niggas in the streets ain’t do what I did in the rap game. I still feel like a lot of people don’t feel where we come from.
Do you think people are counting you out because you’re locked up?
BS: You know everybody has something to say. I’ll be worried when they say nothing. I don’t listen to what people say, people been talking about me since I was born.
RR: There’s a lot of negativity, people saying, “Oh, they never should have took seven years, it’s going to be bad for their career.” Don’t ever judge a book by its cover. Don’t be out there saying shit when you don’t know the outcome of the shit. We’ll be home in our twenties. We’re still young, we’re still active, still them niggas.
What do you think of fellow Brooklyn rapper Young M.A? Some people say Young M.A’s “OOOUUU” sounds a lot like “Hot Nigga.”
BS: That’s my shit! Ooouuu! [Laughs.] I feel like it sounds like Brooklyn. It sounds like it’s supposed to sound like. She’s doing what she has to do, just show love.
RR: We wish them the best. Shout out to Young M.A, Desiigner, A Boogie, all of these guys. I respect their game, I respect their movement, I respect what they’re doing for their family and friends. At the end of the day, we just don’t want all of the fans to forget where we stand. We took that settlement with a smile, 'cause we could have been cooked.