Epic Records has come under fire in recent months for their refusal to pay the $2 million bail for Bobby Shmurda, the “Hot Nigga” rapper behind bars since December 2014 awaiting gun and drug charges. However, Epic CEO L.A. Reid defended the label for not bailing out their signee, telling the Rap Radar podcast (via Vibe) recently, “It made me feel like people don’t know anything about my business. It’s really not their business. That’s the truth about it. We’re not elected officials here, and we’re not at liberty to disclose how we do business.”
Reid admitted that “I’m crazy about that kid [Shmurda] and I think about him often,” but the state of the music industry doesn’t make it financially possible or practical for Epic to bail out the Shmoney Dance creator. “We seriously don’t make the money we used to make. That’s a fact of life,” Reid said. “Bobby Shmurda is not the same as Snoop Dogg and Murder Was The Case, who’s coming off The Chronic and his first album. It’s a different era, ya know? And, we’re a publicly held corporation. We just aren’t in the same position we were in back in those days. So, it’s a different day.”
When Shmurda was first arrested in December 2014, the rapper revealed in a New York Times profile, “When I got locked up, I thought they were going to come for me, but they never came.” The rapper’s lawyer Matthew Middleton also blamed the label for not bailing out their artist, saying, “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. To take advantage of that and exploit it from a business standpoint and then turn your back is disingenuous, to say the least.”
Shmurda was charged with conspiracy to commit murder, multiple weapons possession and reckless endangerment as part of a 15-person, 69-count indictment which alleged that the Brooklyn rapper born Ackquille Pollard was the ringleader of a Crips offshoot known as GS9 (also the name of Shmurda’s crew). The rapper pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Reid’s comments are reminiscent of those made by Sha Money XL, the EVP of Urban A&R for Epic Records. In July, 50 Cent blamed Sha Money for Shmurda’s continued incarceration, with the rapper adding that he bailed out the rappers signed to G-Unit Records. “With 50, he bailed out [Young] Buck and helped [Tony] Yayo all the time,” Sha Money said (via MTV). “Those are the boutique labels, where you got that brother that’s there that feels compassion and could do things that’s not as corporate. It’s not like a social worker. They’re not here to worry about what happens in your private life. Those are the choices you make in your private life.”