Bobby Shmurda was barely out of his teens when he was locked up for six years on conspiracy charges by New York prosecutors eager to connect him and fellow rapper Rowdy Rebel with a series of crimes supposedly committed by a Brooklyn-based gang. Now, he’s out and wants to be a better role model to young fans, citing one fan letter he received in prison that impressed on him the power of his position as a famous rapper.
In a new profile in GQ by veteran journalist Frazier Tharpe, Bobby explains how receiving the letter convinced him to change his mindset. “It was 2016, I was in the box,” he recalls. “A six-year-old girl wrote to me; she said I was her favorite rapper… That just let me know the kids are watching me, and I have to be a role model.” The experience, he says, prompted him to take music more seriously and commit to his career once he got out. “I didn’t really care too much for it until I went to jail and I seen how the fans were loyal,” he enthuses. “I can’t name a week that I didn’t see at least 10 [pieces] of fan mail, throughout the whole bid.”
After all, he says, the prisons are full of talented Black men from similar environments who weren’t given much to look forward to. “The streets are talented. I saw that shit in jail, all day. There’s basketball players, smart-ass motherf*ckers, n****s who know this or that but just don’t know how to apply their sh*t, or have behavior problems. But n****s not taught to apply their shit where we come from.”
Bobby counts the late, great Nipsey Hussle as one of the examples he intends to follow in the future. “His mind was different. He was saying all the things we were going to do when I got out.”
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