On December 17, 2014, New York City Police arrested Pollard, and he was charged with conspiracy to commit murder, weapons possession and reckless endangerment. In 2016, he pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to prison for seven years, which was reduced to five due to credit for the two years served awaiting trial counting towards the sentence.
Bobby Shmurda was born Ackquille Jean Pollard in Miami, Florida, the younger of two sons born to a Trinidadian mother and a Jamaican father. After his birth, he and his mother moved to Brooklyn, New York, after his father's incarceration, before living in East Flatbush.
Shmurda also had run-ins with the law while living in Brooklyn, including spending fifteen months in detention for probation violation, as well as being arrested on a gun charge that was later dropped. According to his indictment, Shmurda was the ringleader of a criminal enterprise titled "GS9" which regularly got into disputes with criminal gangs, committed murder, carried out non-fatal shootings and engaged in drug trafficking along King’s Highway to East Flatbush.
Shmurda began rapping at the age of 10. In 2004, the first song that he remixed was Crime Mob's "Knuck If You Buck",; however, it did not receive any notable attention until 2014, with the release of the song, called "Hot Nigga". The song features the beat from the Lloyd Banks' song "Jackpot". Shmurda gained notoriety from the video, where he performs the "Shmoney dance", choreography that he made in the summer of 2013. The song became popular, seeing amongst the vine users, which soon led to the "Shmoney dance" meme, which has since been performed by Beyoncé on her On the Run Tour, with her husband and American rapper Jay-Z; as well as being used by a Canadian rapper Drake, while hosting the 2014's ESPY Awards. Freestyles of the song were made by a variety of fellow rappers since its release, including Juicy J, French Montana, Lil' Kim, Gunplay and T.I.. The song peaked at number 21 on the Billboard Rap Digital chart While the song was remixed, which features guest vocals from Chris Brown, Jadakiss and Busta Rhymes. Bobby Shmurda made a guest appearance on the television show Real Husbands of Hollywood on the show's fourth season in the episode, "Hart Medication".
In July 2014, Shmurda performed with fellow American rapper Meek Mill and later signed a record deal to Epic Records. On August 29, 2014, Shmurda released a reggae remix, featuring Junior Reid, Mavado, Popcaan and Jah X. On September 5, 2014, the second remix to "Hot Nigga" was released, featuring Fabolous, Chris Brown, Jadakiss, Rowdy Rebel, Busta Rhymes and Yo Gotti. Shmurda's debut studio album with Epic Records was scheduled for release in 2016 being executively produced by Jahlil Beats. though that was later postponed due to Shmurda's imprisonment.
Shmurda freestyled for rapper Meek Mill in February 2017 and claimed that he was still writing music while in prison, indicating that he was preparing music for when he is released.
On June 3, 2014, Pollard was arrested and charged with felony criminal possession of a weapon. Police claim they saw him flashing the gun in an apartment and when they went to investigate, he tried to hide it in a couch. He was set free on $10,000 bail. On December 17, 2014, police arrested Pollard and 14 others, including his brother Javese and his fellow GS9 label-mate Rowdy Rebel. Police charged Shmurda with conspiracy to commit murder, reckless endangerment, and drug and gun possession; charges against the others included murder, attempted murder, assault, and drug dealing. Shmurda pleaded not guilty and was held on $2 million bail. Police said they had been investigating the gang for murder and shooting indiscriminately at crowds in public places long before Shmurda rose to fame. Police said Shmurda was "the driving force" in a gang also known as GS9, the name of his label, as they dealt crack and waged deadly battle with rival gangs for territory. He faced a maximum sentence of 8–25 years. James Essig, head of the NYPD unit that made the arrests, said Shmurda's songs and videos were "almost like a real-life document of what they were doing on the street." In his song "Hot Nigga", Shmurda rapped that "I been selling crack since like the fifth grade" because "Jaja taught me"; Shmurda also rapped about his crew's past and future murders. Shmurda has asserted that the lyrics represent his real life in several interviews, though The Supreme Court of New Jersey recently ruled that lyrics cannot be read at trial as evidence unless they have a "strong nexus" to a specific crime. During his jail time, Pollard was involved in a suspected Bloods vs. Crips related fight.
Between late-June and early–July 2015, the rapper, along with his ex-girlfriend, were caught by officials having smuggled a knife into Rikers Island jail. The two were both charged with two counts of promoting contraband, in addition to one count of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree, then that could result in an additional seven-year sentence. Pollard appeared in the Bronx Supreme Court to face his charges of prison contraband plus 25 years for his previous charge in late 2014. He and his ex-girlfriend pleaded not guilty to the contraband charge, but Shmurda was still facing a maximum sentence of 25 years for the drug and gun charges.
On September 2, 2016, as part of a plea deal, Pollard pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree conspiracy and one count of weapons possession, and was sentenced to 7 years in prison. Under the deal, Pollard cannot appeal the sentence, but will be given credit for 2 years served, leaving 5 years left on his sentence, followed by 5 years of probation. His lawyer Alex Spiro expects that with good behavior, Pollard will only serve approximately three and a half years. In early 2017, Pollard added an additional four years onto his sentence after sneaking a prison shank into his cell.
Shmurda has been engaged in numerous incidents while incarcerated. In May 2015, Shmurda got in a brawl that included members from the Bloods and Crips street gangs. In November 2016, Shmurda was involved in a brawl between several inmates that led to him losing phone privileges for an unnamed period of time and being sent to solitary confinement for a month.
Images of Shmurda whilst incarcerated surfaced online after three years served of a five year plea deal. HotNewHipHop noted how Shmurda's hair had grown out and his upperbody had grown in mass (most likely due to exercise) whilst incarcerated.
Shmurda currently earns 10 to 25 cents per hour whilst in prison, earning an average of $7.75 per week.