It’s been six months since the untimely death of Brooklyn rap star, Pop Smoke, who was murdered in his West Hollywood home on February 19.
Since then, rumors of a debut posthumous album was in the works when 50 Cent confirmed he will be executive producing his album on Victor Victor Worldwide & Republic Records in late March, early April. The original due date for the album’s release was set for June 12th.
Due to the protests and riots that took place in response to the death of George Floyd by the hands of Minneapolis police, the album was postponed to July 3rd in an Instagram post by Pop Smoke’s manager and CEO of Victor Victor Worldwide, Steven Victor, on June 10th.
Days leading into the album, controversy struck when fashion designer, Virgil Abloh was asked (in respect to Pop Smoke’s wishes), to create the artwork for Pop’s debut album. Unfortunately, due to the social media backlash of how some would say, ‘awful’ and ‘incomplete’ the artwork looked, Abloh was removed from creating the artwork for the album.
Last Friday, the highly anticipated debut album was released and millions of fans and celebrities went ballistic.
The title, Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon, was released at 12 a.m ET and fans could not have waited any longer to finally listen to the album.
The artists that were featured on the album included rappers Roddy Ricch & 50 Cent on the song called “The Woo”, which gave an upbeat salsa-instrumental that some would even say gave “a little Carlos Santana influence” to the beat production of the song.
Some songs that caught the eye of many fans include the rugged street anthems of “44 BullDog” & “Gangstas” and how lyrical Pop Smoke truly was aside from his typical Brooklyn drill-based rap style.
Other songs on the album included guest appearances from rappers Lil TJay, (on the song “Mood Swings”), Swae Lee on the track “Creature”, Lil Baby & DaBaby on “For the Night”, Atlanta rapper and Migos member, Quavo and LA rapper Tyga on “West Coast Sh*t”, “Snitching” featuring Atlanta rapper Future and reggaeton singer Karol G on “Enjoy Yourself.”
One song in particular that many had felt that paid homage to Brooklyn and the city of New York was a feature from Brooklyn rapper Rowdy Rebel on “Make It Rain.”
Rowdy was arrested back in 2014 for conspiracy to attempted murder and his association with the GS9 Crip affiliated crew from East Flatbush along with rapper Bobby Shmurda (known for his 2014 hit, Hot N*gga).
He is currently serving his sentence at Ogdensburg Correctional Facility in Upstate, New York, and will be eligible for release in December of this year.
Pop Smoke’s style of rapping is commonly known for being flashy, catchy and charismatic on most of his tracks such as “Christopher Walking”, “Welcome to the Party” and “Dior.” We must admit, the brother was very talented and carried on a new flavor to the New York sound.
However, what impressed me the most was his versatility and unique rapping style he used on the sampled- R&B tracks, “Something Special”, “Diana”, & “What You Know about Love.”
Pop’s style and grace shocked many fans and gained a new level of an audience as he began to channel himself into a direction in which most would say ‘didn’t seem common at all’ especially coming from a drill based rapper such as himself. Pop’s love for the ladies and sexually explicit lyrics drew more women to Pop more than ever.
The sample to “Something Special” is from fellow Brooklyn rapper, Fabolous’s 2003 smash hit, “Into You” featuring Tamia, who some would say is arguably one of the greatest hip-hop/R&B love ballads of all time.
“What You Know about Love” & “Diana” (featuring King Combs) are both samples from R&B legend Ginuwine & the late Static Major’s early R&B trio Playa which many fans fell in love because of the nostalgic R&B ‘late 90s-2000s feeling.
(“What You Know about Love” used the “Differences” sample from Ginuwine & R&B trio, Playa’s “Cheers 2 U” was the sample used for “Diana”)
“Look, God gave me a lot in some months, but it could go in a second.” – Pop Smoke on “Tunnel Vision (Outro)”
Pop Smoke finished the last two songs of the album with “Got it on Me” (which sampled mentor and friend, 50 Cent’s 2003 gritty anthem “Many Men” from his Get Rich or Die Tryin’ album ) & “Tunnel Vision (Outro)” where Pop is being interviewed about where he sees himself in the next ten years as Pop responds, “Pop Smoke will be remembered for coming in and changing the game.”💫
Since the release of the album, rumors of a deluxe album will be coming out around Pop Smoke’s birthday on July 20th, where the rapper would’ve turned 21, according to an Instagram post from fellow NY rapper, Fivio Foreign.
Here’s a quote from rapper Quavo’s Twitter after the release of Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon.
Pop Was My Real Patna!! Good To See Everybody Showing Love Now! God Gonna Do Work Regardless 💫🌙🙏🏾
— QuavoYRN (@QuavoStuntin) July 3, 2020
It saddens me that Pop is no longer here with us to celebrate in his success, but I must say, that he definitely left this world with something special.
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