New York, NY - 

Moments before his December 2014 arrest, Bobby Shmurda was in an elevator at New York’s Quad Studios with Sha Money XL, the man who signed him to Epic Records. Sha Money was telling the “Hot Nigga” rapper to lower his profile, since the NYPD seemed to have an interest in Shmurda and his GS9 crewmates.

As the elevator descended, it stopped on a lower floor and Busta Rhymes, who was at another studio, appeared. Though from different eras of Hip Hop, the two MCs both hail from East Flatbush in Brookyln, and they greeted each other, having previously met during Shmurda’s rise to fame.

The elevator was too full to fit Busta, and as the doors closed, he called to Shmurda, “You got to be safe out there, mon.”

This story, as told by Sha Money, is one of many fascinating revelations from GQ’s sprawling feature on Shmurda. The 6,000-word article documents Shmurda’s rise from being just another kid struggling to make it in Brookyln to becoming a part of pop culture making $20,000 per gig, and then the arrest and incarceration that brought it all crashing down.

The article paints Shmurda, born Ackquille Pollard, as someone who became surrounded by people who wanted a piece of him, with only some of them having his best interests in mind.

The Bobby Shmurda Breakdown

The now-21-year-old rapper is depicted as being overwhelmed by his sudden fame and the stresses that were put on him by his neighborhood, the police and those responsible for his career.

It also points to Shmurda’s desire to get away from the crime of his neighborhood. “All I want is positive things, bro,” he told a friend in Rikers Island correctional facility over the phone in May 2014. “I ain’t got time for no hood shit. I don’t care about no gang shit.… I got record labels tryin’ to sign me. I don’t care about none of that shit but my music and money, bro.”

That quote is now part of a series of taped jailhouse phone conversations prosecutors are using against GS9 members in court.

This month, two of Shmurda’s GS9 associates were found guilty of murder and other crimes — one was sentenced to 53 years in prison, the other to 98 1/3 years.

The article also delves into Shmurda’s relationship with GS9, GS9’s relationship with the G-Stone Crips, and Hip Hop’s relationship with the criminal system.

“Everything I rap about, it’s just entertainment,” Shmurda told GQ writer Scott Eden, and that it was his flair for marketing that “makes people think every word I say is true.”

Shmurda has spoken before about how he felt “dirty” police had targeted him and were trying to set him up. He recently filed a lawsuit against the NYPD, alleging he is the victim of false imprisonment.

After a recent deferment, Shmurda’s trial is scheduled to begin on September 12. Charges against him include conspiracy to commit murder, reckless endangerment, and drug and gun possession.