Rapper Pop Smoke dead at 20

Bashar Jackson, also known the Brooklyn rapper Pop Smoke, died Wednesday morning in Los Angeles during what appeared to be a home invasion. He was 20 years old.

“I honestly really liked his music,” Bryson Louse (9) said. “It is a devastating and unexpected loss. Also, it is really scary how so many rapper are passing away. I pray for Pop Smoke’s family and friends.” 

Jackson skyrocket to fame last summer as a 19-year-old thanks to the success of his song “Welcome to the Party.” He released his second mixtape earlier this month. The lodestar for a New York drill hit may forever be “Welcome to the Party.” The city typically has its own song of the summer every year, and “Welcome to the Party” was the runaway favorite in 2019. The single, which received remix appearances from Nicki Minaj, ASAP Ferg, Meek Mill and more, catapulted Jackson into the upper echelon of the city’s rap talent. A deal with Republic Records followed soon after, as did his debut mixtape, “Meet The Woo,” and his second national hit, “Dior.”

“It is really sad to hear that he passed away before he had the chance to get bigger in the music industry,” Evan Ratkus (10) said. “The music that he has created already sounds really good.” 

With Jackson’s rapid success came increased attention from the NYPD. The rapper had a history of legal problems, but he was trying to come clean as he entered the spotlight. Still, during 2019’s Rolling Loud, NYPD removed Jackson and two others from the lineup.

The situation at Rolling Loud didn’t slow him down. If anything, it seemed to boost him up. “Meet The Woo 2,” released just over two weeks ago was a thrilling update to the first tape’s sound, debuting at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.

By Alice Shi