Once-rising rapper Bobby Shmurda sentenced to seven years on weapons charges

New York (AFP) - Bobby Shmurda, the young rapper whose celebrity was fast growing until his 2014 arrest, was sentenced on Wednesday (Oct 19) to seven years in prison on weapons charges.

A New York court handed the sentence to the 22-year-old rapper, whose real name is Ackquille Pollard, in line with a plea deal which he sought to reject at the last minute.

"I was forced to take this sentence," he told the judge, according to New York Daily News and tweets from inside the courtroom.

But Judge Abraham Clott confirmed the seven-year prison term, ruling that there was no need for more time to review the case.

Shmurda's career boomed in the months before his arrest thanks to his song Hot Nigga, which is full of references to guns and street life. The song - edited down to Hot Boy for mainstream radio - climbed to number six on the American singles chart.

The song went viral thanks to the accompanying Shmoney Dance, which features moving elbows in and out. Pop stars including Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber soon showed off their own Shmoney moves.

In signs of a burgeoning career, Shmurda was signed to Epic Records and performed on the late-night show Jimmy Kimmel Live days before his arrest.

Prosecutors said he was part of a gang involved in shootings against rivals in Brooklyn, and the police reported having seized 21 guns from him and seven associates.

Shmurda, who argued that his gun was a prop, last month accepted the deal to plead guilty to two counts in return for the seven-year sentence, which includes time already served.

Such plea bargains are common in the United States judicial system. Shmurda told Complex magazine last month that his lawyer warned him that he would struggle to make his case in court.

"Who are they going to believe, the word of this black kid talking about shooting s*** up or the word of white officers?" he said.