On the latest episode of “Drink Champs,” N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN sat down with Bobby Shmurda to chat about his prison bid, going independent, meeting JAY-Z, and more.

Born Ackquille Jean Pollard in Miami, Florida, Shmurda moved to East Flatbush, Brooklyn, after his father was convicted of attempted murder in 1995. During his teenage years, he had several run-ins with the law, so he turned to rap as a way to express himself. In 2014, Shmurda took the genre by storm following the release of his debut single and its accompanying video, “Hot N***a.” Having accumulated over 830 million YouTube views, it peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and landed him a deal at Epic Records. His self-proclaimed “Shmoney Dance” simultaneously dominated the internet with everyone from celebrities like Rihanna and Beyoncé to athletes such as Nick Young and Dion Waiters hopping on the trend.

Later that year, he released his first project, Shmurda She Wrote, which helmed songs like “Bobby B**ch” and several others. The EP boasted features from Ty Real and GS9 labelmate Rowdy Rebel. It also opened at No. 79 on the Billboard 200 with initial sales of 20,000 copies. Unfortunately, Shmurda’s career came to a halt after he and 14 GS9 members were arrested on charges of conspiracy, drug trafficking, possession of firearms, and several shootings. The rapper was refused bail after entering a guilty plea, and he eventually accepted a plea bargain that increased his sentence from five to seven years in exchange for a lesser term for Rebel. In February 2021, Shmurda was granted a conditional release followed by a warm welcome from various entertainers.

Months after his release, Shmurda dropped his first single, “No Time for Sleep (Freestyle).” It preceded records like “Cartier Lens” and the Quavo and Rowdy Rebel-assisted “Shmoney.” In 2022, he released his debut album, Bodboy, a nine-song compilation that included standout cuts like “Whole Brick,” “Hoochie Daddy,” and “On God,” among others.

To help give fans a recap, REVOLT compiled a list of nine facts we learned from the Bobby Shmurda “Drink Champs” episode. Check them out below, and watch the full episode here.

1. On pay-to-play destroying the hip hop genre in New York radio

Early in the conversation, N.O.R.E. and Shmurda discussed how hip hop radio stations have lost touch with New York’s sound, citing DJs requiring money to play records and other forms of pay-to-play as the reason why. “We’re going to get back. You know every time we try to do some s**t, we’re going to get back. So there’s going to be a new sound in the next year or two,” Shmurda stated. “Some DJs, they’re getting paid to play s**t. If they’re getting paid to play s**t, it’s like, ‘You won’t be f**king up my money.’”

2. On record labels using his relationship with Rowdy Rebel against him

Alongside Shmurda, Rowdy Rebel signed to Epic Records in 2014 and though the “Bobby B**ch” MC departed in February, his frequent collaborator remained on the label. While discussing their relationship, Shmurda reveals Epic wouldn’t let him leave without Rebel in attempts to keep him on their roster.

Shmurda explained, “Industry people try to tear us apart already. Even when I was leaving. Just to get me to re-sign or to get me to stay with them, there was a whole bunch of s**t going on. They told Rowdy, ‘We ain’t [keeping] Rowdy unless Bobby stay.’ It was to a point we’re on this label s**t together, and I had to stay because we came in together. After I came home, I got to… you know.”

3. On briefly signing a management deal with Roc Nation and chatting with JAY-Z

While recording his first full-length album, Bodboy, and working on subsequent releases, Shmurda signed a management deal with Roc Nation in late 2021. However, following a number of social media pleas for help, the rapper is no longer affiliated with either Roc Nation or Epic Records as of early this year. Midway through his chat with N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN, Shmurda reveals what it was like working with the management company and getting off.

“I’m no longer with Roc Nation. I learned a lot with Roc Nation and Epic at the same time. I came home, and I had Epic and Roc Nation at the same time and I learned a lot about people. I learned what not to do, what to do, when to talk, when to shut the f**k up,” Shmurda shared. “I had a few talks with Hov. Last time I had a talk with Hov, I think I was giving some problems to him. He was like, ‘Listen, man. Stop your s**t, don’t f**k up.’”

4. On taking a plea deal to reduce Rowdy Rebel’s jail sentence

Shmurda notoriously made a deal with prosecutors to serve more time in jail in exchange for a reduced sentence for Rowdy Rebel. It was originally decided that Rowdy would get a 12-year sentence, but that was lowered to six. When asked about the deal, Shmurda shared that he didn’t care about music or meeting celebrities, so serving the additional years was not a problem. “All that rap s**t come second. Everybody knows that the rap s**t, I didn’t give a f**k about it. I didn’t give a f**k about celebrities or all the other s**t like that,” he noted.

5. On people not understanding his post-prison demeanor

Ever since his release from jail in 2021, Shmurda has made it very clear that he’s not looking to revisit his old lifestyle, whether it be his refusal to make drill music or constantly dancing, the latter of which fans have criticized. When asked about how fans and close acquaintances feel about his new direction, the artist stated that people simply just don’t know what it’s like to go through his predicament. “A lot of people don’t like it. Some people gon’ like it, some people gon’ respect it. Some people don’t understand it and this is what we’re here for — to make the people like, ‘What the f**k you doing Bobby?’ understand. If you’ve never been in those type of situations, you ain’t gon’ understand,” he shared.

6. On GS9 and starting his own record label next year

GS9 is a group of hip hop artists that formed in 2012 consisting of Bobby Shmurda, Rowdy Rebel, Fetty Luciano, and Corey Finesse. The organization is an independent record label that distributed music under a venture with Epic Records until Shmurda’s 2022 departure. The rapper discussed the meaning behind its name and launching a new record company next year.

“It’s a brotherhood. It was a brotherhood that turned into a record label. Basically, we started doing music and every music group needs a name. We came up with God Sons 90s,” he shared. “I’m actually about to change my record label. Next year, I’m starting a new record label actually: Hot Nation. That’s spicy, right? I can’t say Hot N***a Records.”

7. On Meek Mill flying him out to the strip club being the moment he realized he made it

Meek Mill was among the first artists who co-signed Shmurda and during his appearance at King of Diamonds in Miami, he invited the rapper onstage to perform in 2014. Later in the interview, the Brooklyn native called back to the first time he recognized his fame, remembering when the Dreams and Nightmares rapper flew him out.

“When Meek flew me out to the strip club, July 4 and s**t. He flew me out to the strip club, it was my first time in the strip club, KOD. July 4, 2014, and I got signed the next two weeks, and I had just came home.” When asked if Meek was trying to sign him, Shmurda replied, “No, I don’t know. Ross was trying to sign me. A couple of people was trying to sign me. Meek, he brought me out to come party with him, got me a little money and s**t.”

8. On losing out on $400,000 to tour in Australia because of his felony charges

In September, Shmurda announced “The Bodmon Tour” with supporting acts Rowdy Rebel, GS9 Gino, and LouGotCash. With stops in Texas, Florida, and Georgia, he was restricted from traveling overseas due to his ongoing probation and being a felon. According to the young star, he missed out on a whopping $400,000 to perform in Australia.

“I was trying to set up Australia on my tour. I had 400 f**king K, bro. A 400 f**king K offer, but I can’t go because Australia does not let in felons. So, this is what happens when you get in trouble,” Shmurda stated.

9. On why he chose to do his first post-prison interview with Maino

Having served six years of a seven-year sentence, Shmurda sat down with Maino on the “Kitchen Talk” podcast for his first interview post-release. His decision to chat with the “Hi Hater” rapper over other publications largely stems from their relationship before Shmurda even started making music. Towards the tail-end of the conversation, he explained how he met Maino and why he was the go-to when he came out of prison. “I had to. I knew Maino since I was 12, since like ‘06. He seen me when I was a little bad**s n***a,” he shared.