New York rapper Bobby Shmurda has pleaded not guilty to gun and drug charges as an alleged member of a street gang.

Ackquille Pollard, who performs under the name Bobby Shmurda, was held on $2 million bail at a hearing in state Supreme Court in Manhattan.

His lawyer, Howard Greenberg, failed to convince a judge that his client should be released without bail.

“He is a legitimate entertainer,” said Greenberg.

“He is rich. He is busy. He is always on tour.”

Brooklyn-born Pollard is best known for hit song Hot Boy. The track was released in July and peaked at number six on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, only making it number 74 on the Official Singles Chart.

He also put out a Shmoney dance music video which triggered dozens of fan-generated memes.

The Vines and uploads included versions by Jay Z, Beyonce, Rihanna and Justin Bieber.

The 20-year-old has also reportedly signed a record deal with Epic Records.

Greenberg claimed Epic had agreed to help Pollard make bail. A spokesman for the label declined to comment.

Police arrested Pollard on conspiracy, reckless endangerment and gun possession on Wednesday after he left a recording studio near Radio City Music Hall. Officers found two handguns and a small amount of crack cocaine in a car in which he was travelling, authorities said.

Court papers naming Pollard also charge more than 15 defendants with a variety of crimes including murder, attempted murder, assault and drug dealing.

Police seized 21 guns during their investigation, 10 of them while making arrests on Wednesday.

“The case carries some deeply disturbing themes. The gang members’ enthrallment with guns, and a cavalier disregard for human life,” Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan said at a news conference.

The hip-hop artist’s songs and videos were “almost like a real-life document of what they were doing on the street”, said James Essig, head of a New York Police Department unit that made the arrests.

The court papers allege that Pollard fired a gun toward a crowd of people outside a barbershop in Brooklyn earlier this year.

They also say he was present last year during a confrontation between rival drug gangs outside a Brooklyn courthouse where shots were fired.

The evidence includes several recorded phone conversations, including some between Pollard and gang members serving time on Rikers Island.

The gang used code words, referring to firearms as “tone,” ”socks” or “CDs”, narcotics as “crills”, and shootings as “sun tans”.

Chad Marshal, another aspiring hip-hop artist known as Rowdy Rebel, was arrested at the recording studio near Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan where police also recovered handguns, according to reports.

If found guilty he faces eight to 25 years in prison.

The next court hearing date has not yet been made public.