In February 2020, the rap world was rocked by the tragic news of the death of Pop Smoke. The up-and-coming rapper, whose real name was Bashar Barakah Jackson, was just 20 years old when he was killed in a home invasion in his Los Angeles rental house. The news of his death sent shockwaves through the music industry and left fans devastated.
Pop Smoke had been making waves in the hip-hop scene with his unique sound and style, and his death was a huge loss to the industry. Fans and internet investigators initially believed that his death was the result of a robbery gone wrong, as Pop Smoke had posted photos on social media showing large amounts of cash and designer goods. However, as more details emerged, it became clear that there was more to the story. In May 2021, a new hearing revealed LAPD and gang details about the events leading up to Pop Smoke’s death, shedding new light on the tragedy.
Early Life and Career
Pop Smoke, whose real name is Bashar Barakah Jackson, was born on July 20, 1999, in Brooklyn, New York. He grew up in Canarsie, Brooklyn, and attended nine different schools during his childhood. As a child, he played African drums in his local church and was expelled from eighth grade for bringing a gun to school. He spent two years on house arrest after being charged with possessing a weapon.
In 2018, Pop Smoke began his music career by releasing his debut single, “MPR.” However, it was his breakout single, “Welcome to the Party,” that brought him national attention. The song was released in April 2019, and its popularity quickly grew, becoming a staple at parties and clubs across New York City. The success of “Welcome to the Party” led to the release of his debut mixtape, “Meet the Woo,” in July 2019.
Pop Smoke’s music career continued to soar in 2020, with the release of his second mixtape, “Meet the Woo, Vol. 2,” which debuted at number 7 on the Billboard 200 chart. The mixtape featured breakout singles such as “Dior” and “Shake the Room,” which featured Quavo. Pop Smoke also collaborated with other artists such as Travis Scott, Nicki Minaj, and Lil Tjay.
Pop Smoke’s music videos were known for their gritty and authentic portrayal of life in Brooklyn. In February 2020, Pop Smoke was in Los Angeles filming a music video for his song “Shake the Room” when he was fatally shot during a home invasion. At the time of his death, Pop Smoke was signed to Republic Records, a division of Universal Music Group.
Rise to Fame
Pop Smoke, born Bashar Barakah Jackson, was a rapper from Brooklyn, New York. He rose to fame in 2019 with his debut mixtape, “Meet the Woo,” which included the hit single “Welcome to the Party.” The song quickly gained popularity on social media and became a viral sensation, with fans and celebrities alike sharing videos of themselves dancing to the track on Instagram.
The success of “Welcome to the Party” led to Pop Smoke’s signing with Steven Victor’s label, Victor Victor Worldwide, and Republic Records. He continued to gain momentum with the release of his second mixtape, “Meet the Woo 2,” which debuted at number seven on the Billboard 200 chart in February 2020.
Pop Smoke’s unique sound, which blended elements of drill rap with melodic hooks, caught the attention of several high-profile artists, including Travis Scott and Quavo. He collaborated with both artists on the track “Gatti,” which was featured on the “Jackboys” compilation album released by Travis Scott’s label, Cactus Jack Records.
In addition to his collaborations with established artists, Pop Smoke also made a name for himself as an up-and-coming performer in his own right. He performed at several major music festivals, including Rolling Loud and the Astroworld Festival, and his music videos on YouTube garnered millions of views.
Pop Smoke’s rise to fame coincided with the growing popularity of the drill movement, a style of rap that originated in Chicago and has since spread to other cities, including New York. His success helped to bring attention to the drill rap scene in New York and solidified his place as one of the genre’s rising stars.
Despite his tragic death in February 2020, Pop Smoke’s legacy continues to live on through his music and the impact he had on the rap industry.
The death of Pop Smoke, a rising rapper, was a tragic event that shook the music industry. On February 19, 2020, Pop Smoke was fatally shot during a home invasion in the Hollywood Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles. The incident occurred around 4:30 a.m. in a rented mansion where the rapper was staying.
According to reports, a group of armed men broke into the house and fired multiple shots at Pop Smoke. The 20-year-old rapper was hit in the chest and rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. The suspects fled the scene before the police arrived.
The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) launched an investigation into the murder and arrested several suspects in the following months. The suspects were identified as members of the Crips gang, and their motive for the robbery and murder is still unclear.
The LAPD detectives worked tirelessly to gather evidence and witnesses to build a strong case against the suspects. In July 2021, one of the suspects, a 15-year-old boy, was charged with murder and robbery. He could face the death penalty if convicted.
The tragic end of Pop Smoke’s life left his fans and the music industry in shock. His posthumous album, “Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon,” was released in July 2020 and became a commercial success. Rest in peace, Pop Smoke.
Pop Smoke’s posthumous debut album, Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon, was released in July 2020, just a few months after his tragic death. The album was an instant hit, debuting at number one on the Billboard 200 chart, making Pop Smoke the first solo artist to achieve this feat posthumously since The Notorious B.I.G. in 1997.
The album’s success can be attributed to its catchy beats, Pop Smoke’s unique voice, and the efforts of his estate to keep his legacy alive. The album features collaborations with many big-name artists, including Quavo, Future, and DaBaby, which helped to draw in a wider audience.
One of the standout tracks on the album is “Dior,” which has become a fan favorite and has been streamed over 1 billion times on Spotify. The song’s catchy chorus and Pop Smoke’s signature flow make it a standout track on the album.
In addition to the success of Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon, Pop Smoke’s estate has continued to release new music, including a second posthumous album titled Faith, which was released in July 2021. The album features collaborations with Kanye West, Chris Brown, and Pharrell Williams, among others.
Pop Smoke’s posthumous success has also led to other opportunities for his estate, including partnerships with brands like Rolls-Royce. The luxury car brand created a custom Rolls-Royce Cullinan for Pop Smoke’s posthumous album release, featuring the album’s cover art on the exterior of the car.
Pop Smoke’s posthumous success is a testament to his talent and the impact he had on the music industry. His estate has done an excellent job of keeping his legacy alive, and fans continue to support his music even after his untimely death.
Investigation and Trial
The investigation into the murder of Pop Smoke began in February 2020 after the rapper was shot and killed in a Hollywood Hills home. Police quickly identified multiple suspects, and four men were eventually charged with his murder.
In July 2020, the Los Angeles Police Department revealed that they believed Pop Smoke’s murder was gang-related, with the suspects allegedly belonging to the 8-Trey Crips gang. The investigation also revealed that the suspects had targeted Pop Smoke after seeing his address on social media.
One suspect, Corey Walker, was tried separately from the other three. In July 2021, Walker was found guilty of murder and attempted murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The other three suspects are still awaiting trial.
The trial for the remaining suspects has faced several delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In April 2023, one of the suspects, a 20-year-old who was charged as a juvenile, pleaded guilty to his involvement in the murder. He was sentenced to four years in a juvenile detention center.
The trial for the two remaining suspects, Peter Frankel and Michael Durodola, is currently scheduled for later this year. Both men are facing the possibility of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Throughout the investigation and trial, Pop Smoke’s family has been vocal about their desire for justice for their son. The New York Times reported that Pop Smoke’s mother, Audrey Jackson, has attended every court hearing and has spoken out about the impact of her son’s death on her family.
Despite the arrests and ongoing trial, the murder of Pop Smoke has left a lasting impact on the music industry and his fans. The Associated Press reported that the rapper’s death has sparked conversations about the dangers of social media and the need for increased security measures for celebrities.
Legacy and Impact
Pop Smoke’s untimely death was a devastating loss for the music industry and his fans. Despite his short career, the Brooklyn rapper left a lasting impact on the drill scene and beyond.
Pop Smoke’s music was heavily influenced by his upbringing in New York and his experiences with violence and struggle. His raw and authentic lyrics resonated with listeners who could relate to his stories. Pop Smoke’s unique sound, which blended drill with UK influences, helped him stand out in a crowded field.
His success also brought attention to the drill scene, which had previously been overlooked by mainstream media. Pop Smoke’s music and his story inspired a new generation of artists and gave hope to those who were also trying to make it in the industry.
Pop Smoke’s legacy is also evident in the way his friends and loved ones continue to honor his memory. 50 Cent, who was a mentor to Pop Smoke, has been vocal about his support for the rapper and his family. Other artists have also paid tribute to Pop Smoke in their music and on social media.
While Pop Smoke’s death was tragic, it also shed light on the issue of violence in the music industry. His death was reportedly the result of jealousy and greed, as individuals attempted to steal his cash, luxury car, and designer goods. Pop Smoke’s story serves as a reminder of the importance of staying safe and being aware of one’s surroundings.
Pop Smoke’s impact on the music industry and his fans cannot be overstated. His legacy will continue to inspire and influence future generations of artists.