Bobby Shmurda Will Need More Than a Hashtag to Beat Murder Charges

Hip-hop can chant "Free Bobby Shmurda" until it's hoarse, it's looking more and more like he'll be in prison for decades.
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Hip-hop can chant "Free Bobby Shmurda" until it's hoarse, it's looking more and more like he'll be in prison for decades.

Bobby Shmurda and his GS9 group were arrested during the freezing winter that came after a most scorching summer. It has been 16 months since their December 18 arrest in 2014 and the first wave of trials have just finally ended. Two members of GS9 who were arrested along with Bobby have been found guilty on charges of conspiracy, murder in the second degree, attempted murder in the second degree, and a laundry list of other felonies. Both are now looking at life in prison. Their trials aren’t directly connected to Bobby’s but their verdict has been eye opening. For the first time since the raid that put him in the cage I’m questioning if he will ever walk free.

"The jurors in this trial heard evidence describing a cold blooded murder, wild gunplay and a terrifying disregard for the safety of innocent bystanders as the defendants tried to vilently settle scores with rivals in New York City and beyond," said Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan.

Bobby’s name was hot on the airwaves and in the streets, the charges that brought upon his capture were identical to the words in the song that made him famous. Lyrics alluding to gangbanging, drug dealing, violence and murder, but the jubilant beat and the fun video of a dancing, young, black teenager made it all fun, entertainment. So we danced to crack being sold in the fifth grade and Mitch catching a body the same way they once danced to Nelly’s “Country Grammar” even with a hook that alludes to a drive-by shooting. It's not a song about murder when it comes on in the club. It was a summer anthem with a dance to match, and it was believed the song’s creator would be back out dancing amongst the people in no time. Behind bars he sat awaiting bail, fans sat awaiting his freedom.

I believe the optimism that he’ll be free comes from the fact this isn’t the first rapper to tangle with the law and it won’t be the last. Meek Mill made it out of his situation with just an ankle bracelet, T.I. has more felonies than children but has avoided any major jail time, R. Kelly walked free despite all the evidence, time and time again it’s been proven that fame, a bit of riches, and great lawyers can make miracles happen where there should be hopelessness.

So why worry? To fans it's not about innocence or guilt but how soon the caged bird will sing again. That’s why Gucci has been held down, why Boosie was held down, why Pimp C was held down, all coming home to adoring fans. From the outside it doesn't feel like someone is away imprisoned but taking a temporary absence from making music. These men aren’t away at boot camp, they aren’t students suspended from school. They’re away at prison, doing real time, but in the entertainment industry it doesn’t appear that’s the case. I believe it's because the fans aren’t getting the collect calls, having to put money on their books, watching a loved one rot in a cell. All we have to care about is when the next song touches our ears. 

What are you planning to do when you get out?

Write some platinum songs. [Laughs.] Finish up this deal I got with Epic. - Bobby Shmurda's Interview with Billboard 2015

It’s weird hearing “Hot Nigga” and seeing how people still react, the way they sing and dance as if the man who taught us how to “Shmoney Dance” didn’t allegedly get caught trying to sneak a knife into prison, fought off gang members and ended up fighting for his freedom. You can wear the shirts, hashtag his name, shout and scream the lyrics at shows, but come May 11, his next trial date, there’s a very real chance that he’ll be found guilty and face up to 25 years in prison. The cold reality is the best years of his life may be gone before his life starts again. 

This isn’t about guilt or innocence. The judge and jury will decide that. It's about the jadedness that comes when entertainers are in trouble, how easy it is to make us believe that there's fairytale solutions for nightmarish scenarios. I really believed that Bobby wouldn't be in that cell for long. That he was becoming a big enough name with a big enough buzz to have a real chance at fighting this. None of that mattered to the judge who denied his bail seven times. With May 11 just a few weeks away and the recent conviction of two GS9 members, I'm reminded that some nightmares don't end when you wake up, even for the rapper who once had the summer's hottest song. 

By Yoh, aka Yoh Da 5'11", aka @Yoh31. Image via Instagram.