Ackquille Pollard, the rapper better known as Bobby Shmurda, was arrested in a drug sting almost exactly one year ago and has been languishing in prison awaiting trial ever since. His label, Epic Records, refuses to bail him out, and the court has repeatedly denied his requests for bail. But Shmurda might have an unlikely guardian angel on the way: Martin Shkreli, the 32-year-old Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO who became a worldwide villain back in September when news broke that he had jacked up the price of AIDS and cancer drug Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 per tablet.
Shkreli has continued to be an oddly consistent presence in the headlines since then due to his ongoing involvement with the music business. First, after Shkreli was revealed to be the benefactor behind Geoff Rickly’s Collect Records, the label cut ties with Shkreli. Then, in December, Shkreli turned out to be the person who paid millions for the only copy of Wu-Tang Clan’s secret album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin. He’s since enjoyed an evening with Fetty Wap, and he’s aiming to acquire more private albums from superstar musicians.
Now, in a new interview with Hip Hop DX conducted Monday and published today, Shkreli says he’s in talks to pay Shmurda’s $2 million bail and implies that he’ll pay to upgrade Shmurda’s legal team:
We’re actually in discussion to try to bail out Bobby Shmurda. Forget whether you think he’s guilty or not, the guy should not be sitting in jail right now. It’s insane. He’s from Brooklyn. I’m from Brooklyn. He deserves a fair trial. He deserves good lawyers. He doesn’t have good lawyers. His label is hanging him out to dry and so I have a conference call tomorrow morning with them (December 15). I’ll show up with $2 million bail money no fucking problem. He’s not going to flee the country. I’m not going to lose anything. I’m going to try to make that happen. That’s one thing I’m working on.
Shkreli’s help comes at a price, of course:
I’m a fan and I’m a business man. I’m not going to do this for free. [Laughs] He’s going to have to do something for me. I don’t know what that’s going to look like yet. He’s going to owe me one, obviously. I’d like to pay for his legal defense as well. I’m a big fan but also I’m an opportunist. You know that. I see an opportunity here. He’s a talented guy. Every concert I go to, people yell “Free Shmurda.” He reminds me of me, quite frankly. The guy’s totally irreverent. He doesn’t give a damn what people think. Totally irreverent. Totally I don’t give a fuck. I love him. I just love that style. He’s from not far from where I’m from in Brooklyn. I’d love to help him out. I wish someone would have helped me out when I needed help. He doesn’t have much money, I know that. He’s definitely hurting for money. He needs a bailout, basically. I’d like to help him out. No big promises, but I’ll see what I can do. Like I said, if I can post the $2 million, I’d do it tomorrow. I’m working on it and hopefully we’ll see him free soon.
Shkreli also comments on the Ghostface Killah/Action Bronson feud (both Shkreli and Bronson are Albanian) and his own brimming conflict with RZA, who noted that the album sale to Shkreli was finalized “before his business practices came to light.” Take it away, Shkreli:
I’m the most successful Albanian to ever walk the face of this Earth. What happened to Bronson was [regarding Ghostface Killah] — I thought it was entertaining, watching him run his mouth on YouTube and talk about how he’s got shooters and shit like that. It was funny. I just didn’t like that. I thought we’d keep it as if it was fine. I bought the album. [There’s a ] big fucking check in RZA and Cilvaringz’ pocket now, but if they’re starting to turn up on me… The Albanian community is a very weird community. We’re some of the most tight-knit kind-of kill for each other, die for each other motherfuckers there are. People say it’s one of the craziest ethnicities there is in terms of their loyalty and bloodlines and shit like that. This [Wu-Tang] thing is starting to get pretty tense. You probably see that increasingly. I’m getting pretty frustrated by it. I bought the most expensive album in the history of mankind and fucking RZA is talking shit behind my back and online in plain sight. I’m just getting pissed off. That’s not the way I do business. If I hand you $2 million, fucking show me some respect. At least have the decency to say nothing or “no comment.” The guy says “…before his business practices came to light.” What the fuck does that mean? I fucking make money. That’s what I do. That’s why I can fucking afford a fucking $2 million album. What do you think I do, make cookies? No, motherfucker. I sell drugs. [Laughs] I felt insulted.
Shkreli adds, “You’ve got to research Albanians, it’s the most hot tempered culture there is. I have a crazy temper myself. He’s from the streets. The guy hasn’t been in the hustle in 20 years. He doesn’t want to get me angry and I’m getting angry.” This guy!