Back in 2014, exuberant Brooklynite Bobby Shmurda (real name Ackquille Jean Pollard) peaked at Number Six on the Billboard Hot 100 with the seminal internet hit ‘Hot N***a’. This was the first millions of us had heard from the then-20-year-old, and we grew to love budding rap star’s magnetism and puppy-like nature.
Influencing pop culture with his distinctive ‘Shmoney Dance’, which we would still do in the clubs to this day if we could, Shmurda had the world eating into the palm of his hand. We all wanted to know: just who was this guy repping his GS9 hip-hop collective all the time? Then came the ironic follow-up ‘Bobby Bitch’ and his meme-worthy jumping about on the tables in an Epic Records boardroom (way before Machine Gun Kelly had a go). So it was heart-sickening to see him snatched up and thrown in the slammer.
He was sentenced to seven years for conspiracy and weapons possession, but was released last week and has vowed to be “role model” for his young fans. The seemingly benevolent rapper still owes us a debut album, and in 2021 the rap world has so many reasons to be ecstatic to see what Bobby does with his life.
All eyes are on Bobby
Bobby’s welcome back from the global rap community has been huge – we haven’t seen anything like this since Barking rhymer Potter Payper was released last June, and even that was mainly a UK-centric celebration. With everyone waiting to see what the Brooklyn star has to say after under seven years incarcerated, Bobby has had quite the reception – just look at his follow count on social media: his Instagram account grew by 2.3 million (atop of the million he already) within 24 hours of his release.
And ears too!
Bobby’s digital streams have gone up 600 per cent since he got out, which is unheard of in the rap game unless you’ve tragically passed away. New followers mean new fans and young kids, who may not have been able to discover Bobby around his ‘Hot N***a’ peak are are now going back to see what the hype is around him. Able to stand the test of time especially when viral rappers can be one hit wonders in a blink of an eye, Bobby will surely break the internet when he releases new music.
His super-fans say so
Among those followers lies an excited Migo – the rap band’s frontman Quavo met Bobby on a private jet when the latter got out. Quavo obviously isn’t the only star in the rap-o-sphere to celebrate Bobby’s return. From Fivio Foreign, an affiliate of the late Pop Smoke, to Kaash Paige, a budding R&B singer signed into the Roc Nation family, social media has been ablaze with high-profile tributes to the star. But when Quavo, a proud Atlantan, goes so hard for the New Yorker, it’s a sign that Bobby really is key to rap in the Big Apple.
We’re still pining for the late, great Pop Smoke
Fellow New York drill superstar Pop Smoke had the transatlantic rap community in the palm of his hands with certified 2019 club hit ‘Welcome To The Party’. And Pop Smoke didn’t let up delivering endless feel-good drill tracks that were new to Americans and intriguing to Brits: ‘Dior’ and ‘War’ still sound fresh. His staple mixtapes ‘Meet The Woo’ and its 2020 sequel took over the drill circuit worldwide. Now he’s gone, who’s going to fill that Pop Smoke-shaped hole in drill lovers’ hearts? We’ll give you one guess…
Drill needs Bobby
Before Bobby’s ‘Hot N***a’, drill’s sound was heavily influenced by the UK’s love for 140bpm and zippy basslines; the sub-genre was filled with rappers talking almost exclusively about their drilling. Bobby’s sound drew just as heavily on Chicago’s trappy sounds. Drill has fallen off a little lately on both sides of the Atlantic, so he’s coming back at the perfect time: the real drill king can reclaim his throne.
And so does NYC
With the Southern states taking over the US rap scene – see the recent Floridian influx with the likes of City Girls, or Texas’ current domination as Megan Thee Stallion and Travis Scott quickly top the charts whenever they release. LA was always churning out cool new talent, regardless what has been popular over the years. But New York had fallen quiet lately. Some rappers hadn’t made more than a murmur outside of their beloved five boroughs. But now Bobby’s here, that definitely is changing some time soon.
It’s time to sack off 6ix9ine for good
New York still hasn’t been able to scrub out the huge rainbow-coloured stain that is 6ix9ine. At one point in time, 6ix9ine and his Treyway posse were the biggest thing out of the city, but now – after becoming notorious for his expert trolling skills as well as a charge for child sex offences — he’s overshadowing NY’s gritty image in rap. This was always a place where fakery was left by the wayside; someone needs to correct the modern New York image.
There’s room for a new Bobby
Shmurda was once a boy who showcased his toughness in the public eye for our entertainment. However, now he’s released, he can finally soften his persona and become the “role model” he longs to be. The rap world Bobby was pulled from in 2014 was a world of CDs and fan mail (and, yes, hugs – remember them?). The change will surely be daunting. But New York has been in need of some sort of saviour for a couple of years now. Bobby, take your crown.