Richard Shaw (born December 8, 1966), better known by the stage name Bushwick Bill, is a member of the rap group Geto Boys. He was born in Jamaica, but moved to Brooklyn, New York as a young child.
The most well-known event of Bushwick Bill’s life was a shooting accident in which he lost his right eye. One night in May 1991, while depressed, drunk and suicidal, he went to his girlfriend’s house and asked her to shoot him. She refused, and he threatened to harm their baby. After a struggle, the gun went off, piercing his eye, leaving a bullet stuck inside his head. He survived the accident, but lost his eye.The whole story is told in detail in the song “Ever So Clear” and its accompanying music video. The song name is a reference to the grain alcohol he was drinking at the time of the accident: Everclear. While in the hospital, a picture was taken for Geto Boys‘ next album We Can’t Be Stopped. In the album cover, the two other members of Geto Boys, Willie D and Scarface, are pushing a gurney down a hospital hall, and the bloodied swollen eye can clearly be seen.
Bushwick Bill can also be heard on the album The Chronic by Dr. Dre. He appears in the video for Dre Day as one of Eazy E’s fellow rappers, as well as in the introduction and concluding parts of Stranded on Death Row which was performed by Kurupt of Tha Dogg Pound, RBX, the Lady of Rage and Snoop Doggy Dogg. His 1998 album No Surrender… No Retreat was dedicated to his friend Gil Epstein, a Fort Bend County prosecutor, who was shot dead in Houston, Texas, in 1996.
In May 2010, Bushwick Bill was arrested in Georgia for possession of marijuana and cocaine. Police did a background check and found that along with carrying a green card, he also had three previous convictions on his record. After paying bail, Bill was transferred to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement who tried to initiate removal proceedings against him. Based on his prior arrest record, he was facing deportation. After winning his removal case, he was released from custody on October 18, 2010. According to his attorney, Carlos Solomiany, Bushwick Bill is now “back to being a lawful permanent resident of the United States.” Although the misdemeanor charges are still pending, Solomiany is confident that the rapper will not have to serve any more time behind bars, as he hopes to enroll him into a rehabilitation drug court program.
Fans first became aware of Bushwick’s legal troubles when he failed to show for an appearance at the VH1 Hip Hop Honors last June, where he was scheduled to perform the Geto Boys’s classic song “Mind Playing Tricks on Me,” along with Willie D. Game took over in Bill’s absence.
Although he is now free, it doesn’t seem like fans will ever get to see the veteran Southern rap group together any time soon. XXL asked Bill if he plans on working with Willie D and Scarface again, and he said they didn’t seem interested in his new musical direction. His 2009 album, My Testimony of Redemption, saw the born-again rapper rhyming about his religious leanings.
“I don’t think any of them is interested,” he said of appearing on record with his former group. “I’ve never got the vibe that they would do a gospel song. ‘Cause when they talking about doing another Geto Boys album I said I would do it if I could rap like I’m rapping on my gospel album, I didn’t get a whole lot of cosigning on that from all the political parties concerned.”
Bushwick Bill is currently working on his new album, The Road to Redemption. A court date has yet to be determined in his misdemeanor drug case.