Bobby Shmurda’s Story: A Timeline

Bobby Shmurda is returning home from prison after serving a seven-year sentence. Here's a comprehensive timeline of the Brooklyn rapper's career.

Bobby Shmurda

Image via Getty/Bennett Raglin

Bobby Shmurda

Fans can finally retire their #FreeBobbyShmurda tags now. The rapper known as Bobby Shmurda is reportedly returning home from the Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York after serving a seven-year sentence for conspiracy to murder, weapons possession, and reckless endangerment charges. “Thank you for remaining loyal and for riding this six year sentence out with me,” he wrote on his Instagram Story the day before his release. “I love you all and look forward to seeing you soon.”

As he prepares for a comeback, it’s time to reflect on his story up to this point. In the summer of 2014, Bobby dropped his smash hit “Hot N***a” and everyone loved it. Hell, even Beyoncé loved it; she did her own version of the video’s Shmoney Dance while on tour. Pretty soon, Bobby was on TV, performing and showing off the summer’s hottest trending dance. Then he signed a deal with a major label and began production on his debut album. But as inspirational as his rise was, his fall was equally devastating.

Now, in light of his return, here’s a comprehensive timeline of Bobby Shmurda’s ascent, descent, and comeback.

1994-2013: The early years

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Bobby Shmurda was born Ackquille Jean Pollard on August 4, 1994, in Miami, Florida. He’s half-Trinidadian (mother) and half-Jamaican (father), and the youngest of two brothers. His father, Gervase Johnson, was convicted of attempted murder in 1995, and sentenced to life. He’s been away since Bobby was two months old. Bobby’s mother, Leslie Pollard moved the family to East Flatbush, Brooklyn, where they settled on 53rd and Clarkson. Bobby spent his childhood traveling between the northern and southern United States in order to keep in touch with his father, who advised him to stay off the streets. But Bobby has said that he hung around a lot of older kids when he was little who ultimately influenced his decisions. According to Bobby, when his brother Javase started dealing drugs in the ninth grade, Bobby was roped into doing the same thing. His crew, known as GS9, is largely composed of the kids Bobby grew up with in his neighborhood. Before GS9, they referred to themselves as the “Shmurdas.” There have been multiple explanations for the name including GS9: Gun Squad, Grimey Shooters, and G Stone Crips. Growing up, Bobby Shmurda had several run-ins with the police. Prior to his breakout success, Shmurda served 15 months in a juvenile detention center for a probation violation

March 2014: Bobby Shmurda drops “Hot N***a”

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In March 2014, Bobby Shmurda uploaded a video for his debut single “Hot N***a” to YouTube. The song included production from Jahlil Beats that was originally used on Lloyd Banks’s 2012 track “Jackpot.” Shmurda and his close friend Chad “Rowdy Rebel” Marshall sold a mixtape, which included the song, for $5 on the street. But the record didn’t take off until they shot a music video for it and uploaded it to Vevo. The low budget video, which depicted Bobby and his friends dancing in the street, was significant to the song’s success. Today, the video has over 500 million views. After being formally released by Epic Records in the summer, the song peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. Critics praised the track for its rawness and legitimacy. Even the rap veterans praised Shmurda. Artists like Juicy J, French Montana, Lil Wayne, and Lil Kim released freestyles over the song’s instrumentals. Two months after the song’s release, Shmurda dropped the remix featuring Fabolous, Chris Brown, Jadakiss, Rowdy Rebel, Busta Rhymes and Yo Gotti and the reggae remix with Junior Reid, Mavado, Popcaan and Jah X.

July 2014: Bobby Shmurda signs to Epic Records

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Shortly after “Hot N***a” went viral, Bobby Shmurda signed to Epic Records. The track was officially released under the label in July 2014, and Bobby made plans to record a full-length album to be released in 2016. One video clip that gained particular notoriety during this time was footage of Shmurda dancing on a conference room table in front of Epic Records executives. He also began touring. He even made surprise appearances onstage with Drake and Meek Mill. 

Aug. 2014: The Shmoney dance goes viral

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In the “Hot N***a” video, Bobby flips his Knicks hat in the air and goes into a two-step hip swivel—a move that became known to millions of viewers as the Shmoney Dance. Thanks to the Vine remix culture of 2014, the dance became just as, if not more popular, than the song, leading to multiple tributes and parodies. JAY-Z, Beyoncé, and Rihanna all checked the dance, either by name or by performing it, as did other celebrities, like Chris Brown, Justin Bieber and Nick Young. Bobby’s personal favorite videos are the ones in which little kids are dancing.

Nov. 10, 2014: Bobby Shmurda’s debut EP ‘Shmurda She Wrote’ is released

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Bobby dropped his debut EP, Shmurda She Wrote, in early December. The five-song project featured “Hot N***a,” as well as “Worldwide N***a,” “Bobby Bitch,” “Living Life,” and “Wipe the Case Away.” The EP moved 20,000 copies in its first week and debuted at No. 79 on the Billboard 200 chart. Since then, it has sold 106,000 copies, including 85,000 streaming equivalent units.

Dec. 17, 2014: NYPD arrest Bobby Shmurda and GS9 members 

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On Dec. 17, 2014 around 4.a.m, NYPD officers arrested Bobby Shmurda and 14 GS9 members outside of Quad Studios in New York City. The arrests were made after a yearlong investigation related to their alleged involvement in various shootings and narcotics trafficking. The rapper was arrested on charges of conspiracy, reckless endangerment, and gun possession. Police also found 21 guns and a small amount of crack cocaine during the sweep, according to authorities.

The validity of these charges varies, depending on who you ask. Supporters point to recorded conversations between GS9 members, who police claim are speaking in code to make illicit deals. They point out that Shmurda himself had rapped about crimes in his lyrics—although there are rulings against admitting this as evidence during trial. Shmurda himself has recently stated that his lyrics were “fiction rap.” Detractors point out a lack of any reported, documented incidents of drug transactions or cash exchanges, that the phone calls were circumstantial, and that there was no smoking gun to prove conspiracy. Critics feel that Shmurda’s celebrity ensured he would never get a fair shake—a claim Shmurda and his family also maintain.

Dec. 18, 2014: Bobby Shmurda pleads not guilty to gun and drug charges

Bobby Shmurda attends 106 & Party at BET studio

Feb. 2015 – Dec. 2015: Bobby Shmurda’s bail package withdrawn and denied

Bobby Shmurda

April 2015: Bobby Shmurda involved in gang-related jail fight

Bobby Shmurda

June 2015: Bobby Shmurda and Rowdy Rebel’s first trial date is set 

Bobby Shmurda and Rowdy Rebel

Feb. 11, 2016: Bobby Shmurda says ‘I was targeted because of my rap music’


Sept. 9, 2016: Bobby Shmurda takes plea deal: ‘I did it for Rowdy‘

Bobby Shmurda raps at a BET party.

Feb. 2, 2017: Bobby Shmurda is offered a reduced plea deal in smuggled knife case 


Summer 2018: Bobby Shmurda announces parole eligibility, does interview with ‘This Is 50‘

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In April 2018, Bobby Shmurda announced that he was eligible for parole from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Upstate New York in 2020. In a phone interview with This Is 50, Bobby hints at his early release, saying, “When I get out, we’re going to f--- everything up. I got two years, 2020. You know how that shit goes. I like to see real niggas doing their thing with more constructive shit. I hope a lot of motherfuckers learn from me.” Bobby Shmurda’s mother Leslie Pollard also suggested her son would  be home by the holidays in 2020, and his team begins teasing “a bunch of mixtapes” following his return. Unfortunately, on September 15, Shmurda is denied parole following an interview with the Board of Parole. He’s ordered to serve the maximum sentence until December 11, 2021. 

Jan. 4, 2021: Bobby Shmurda is granted conditional release in Feb. 2021

bobby shmurda

Feb. 22, 2021: Bobby shares message for fans on eve of release: 'Thank you for remaining loyal'


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