NEW YORK (AP) — Bobby Shmurda, an up-and-coming rapper featured in a viral music video that popularized the “Shmoney dance,” pleaded guilty on Friday to conspiring with a drug gang responsible for several shootings.
Under a plea deal, Shmurda will face a minimum seven years in prison at sentencing on Oct. 19. The plea allowed him to avoid going to trial starting next week on multiple counts carrying penalties that could have put him behind bars for decades.
The Brooklyn-born Shmurda, whose birth name is Ackquille Pollard, is best known for “Hot Boy,” a gritty hit song with rhymes about street violence. He and Chad “Rowdy Rebel” Marshall — another aspiring hip-hop artist who also pleaded guilty in the same case — gained notoriety with their performance in the “Shmoney dance” video, which has nearly 15 million Youtube views.
The two were among four co-defendants who were brought into a Manhattan courtroom in handcuffs on Friday and put side-by-side in the jury box, where they squabbled with their lawyers over whether to take the plea offer. After three accepted, Shmurda slumped down, stared toward the ceiling and, when prompted by the judge, mumbled “guilty.”
Shmurda, 22, could get enough credit for time served and good behavior “to be home in approximately 3 ½ years and resume his remarkable career,” defense attorney Alex Spiro said in statement.
Authorities arrested Shmurda in late 2014 after he left a recording studio near Radio City Music Hall, only days after he peformed “Hot Boy” for a national television audience on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” Investigators found two handguns and a small amount of crack cocaine in a car in which he was riding, authorities said.
An indictment charged Shmurda and more than 15 defendants with a variety of crimes including murder, attempted murder, assault and drug dealing. Shootings by the gang left one rival dead, injured an innocent bystander sitting on folding chair outside a Brooklyn home and caused pandemonium outside a nightclub in Miami Beach, Florida, authorities said.
The court papers alleged that Pollard once fired a gun toward a crowd of people outside a barbershop in Brooklyn. They also said he was present last year during a confrontation between rival drug gangs outside a Brooklyn courthouse where shots were fired.
In a jailhouse interview last year with The New York Times, Shmurda criticized his label, Epic Records, for not helping him pay his $2 million bail. Epic hasn’t comment.
He also claimed his lyrics about gunplay were “fabricated,” because “that’s what’s selling nowadays.”
Rappers With a College Degree
1. Honorary: Diddy spent some time at Howard University but never finished. This year he received an honorary Doctorate.1 of 25
2. Childish Gambino (Donald Glover) Glover graduated with a degree in Dramatic Writing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Art.2 of 25
3. Honorary: Lil Wayne went to the University of Houston before transferring to the University of Phoenix to take classes online.3 of 25
4. Mos Def graduated from NYU4 of 25
5. Honorary: Common attended Florida A&M for two years with an academic scholarship5 of 25
6. Camron graduated from junior college in Texas6 of 25
7. 2 Chainz graduated from Alabama State University7 of 25
8. Lil Jon graduated high school, finished college at Ohio State University in '93 and straight into the music biz. (AP)8 of 25
9. Producer, Singer Ryan Leslie has a Degree in Government & Economics from Harvard University. (PR Photos)9 of 25
10. J. Cole has a Bachelor's Degree in Communications with a minor in Business from St. John's University. (AP)10 of 25
11. Joe Torry has a Degree in Mass Communications from Lincoln University. (PR Photos)11 of 25
12. David Banner has a Bachelor's Degree in Business from Southern University. (PR Photos)12 of 25
13. Young MC has a Bachelor's Degree in Economics from the University of Southern California. (PR Photos)13 of 25
14. Ludacris has a Bachelor's Degree in Music Management from Georgia State University. (AP)14 of 25
15. Public Enemy's Chuck D. has a Bachelor's Degree in Graphic Design from Adelphi University (New York) (PR Photos)15 of 25
16. M.I.A. She completed a program in fine art, film and video at London's Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. AP16 of 25
17. Ice Cube earned a degree in Architecture from Phoenix Institue of Technology in 1988. (PR Photos)17 of 25
18. Stat Quo has a Bachelor's in International Business & Economics from the University of Florida. (TheUrbanDaily)18 of 25
19. Rapper Sage Francis earned a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the University of Rhode Island in 1999. (Twitter)19 of 25
20. Talib Kweli has a New York University Theatre and Arts Degree. (Photo: AP)20 of 25
21. Flava Flav earned degrees in Radio Communications & Business from Adelphi University. (Photo: AP)21 of 25
22. MC Solaar earned degrees in Languages and Philosophy from the Jussieu Campus of the University of Paris. (Tumblr)22 of 25
23. Musta Ace earned a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Rhode Island. (Tumblr)23 of 25
24. Rumor has it that Plies graduated from a four year college in Miami with a Degree in Nursing. (Photo: EURweb)24 of 25
25. The late great GURU (Keith Elam) earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Morehouse College25 of 25
(Photo Source: AP)