The Bobby Shmurda case has generated a ton of press with no action to release the struggling rapper from his Rikers Island holding cell. All eyes have been directed to Shmurda’s (born Ackquille Pollard) record label, Epic Records, to fork over the $2 million bail money after he created an enormous buzz and revenue stream from his platinum-selling 2014 single, “Hot N***a.”
While speaking to The New York Times, Bobby Shmurda’s lawyer Matthew Middleton, outlines the parameters of correct and politically correct.
Middleton openly admits that Epic isn’t required to cover the young rap star’s legal fees, but from a “corporate standpoint,” he’s having a tough time wrapping his head around the fact they’ve allowed Shmurda to stay put for so long. (December 17, 2014, to be exact.)
“These companies for years have capitalized and made millions and millions of dollars from kids in the inner city portraying their plight to the rest of the world,” Middleton tells The Times. “To take advantage of that and exploit it from a business standpoint and then turn your back is disingenuous, to say the least.”
Reggie Ossé, a.k.a. Combat Jack, agrees but he also knows from his experience as a veteran entertainment lawyer in the Hip-Hop industry (Bad Boy Records, Jay Z, etc.) that labels only care about an artist’s productivity.
“The label only cares about what you’re contracted to produce — the deliverables,” Ossé says. “Who’s that bridge to take you from this world to a safer world? There is no bridge.”
Still, Middleton isn’t naive that there is a sense of injustice going on, seeing that Epic hasn’t exactly invested the bank vault in Shmurda’s short career.
“I understand from a corporate standpoint that companies cannot put themselves in a position where it appears they’re supporting and condoning criminal activity. But he hasn’t been found guilty of anything yet,” he stated. He also points out that Epic has “made their money back at least two or three times over.”
The sentiment that a record label should be directly involved with an artist’s personal life–especially on the Hip-Hop side–was probably made possible by Suge Knight when he bailed out Tupac Shakur in the mid-90s to sign him to his Death Row Records imprint.
Both legal representation for Epic Records and Sha Money XL, their executive vice president of urban A&R, declined requests for interviews for the story.