Pop Smoke’s death still feels inconceivable. A little over a week after his murder, family, fans and friends alike have continued to publicly process the Brooklyn drill rapper (born Bashar Barakah Jackson)’s abrupt passing. The 20-year-old’s career was in its nascent stages at the time of his passing, but already deemed worthy of respect by vets in the industry—including his vocal doppelgänger and self-proclaimed mentor 50 Cent.
After the release of the late rapper’s stellar introductory projects, Meet The Woo and Meet The Woo 2, the Canarsie-native’s debut album was much anticipated, because both New York and hip-hop as a whole hadn’t had anyone quite like him in the scene for some time. The possibility of hearing his shelved tracks still—including, possibly, his epic dembow concoction with El Alfa—albeit in altered shape and form, isn’t something that was previously considered a possibility… until now.
“I decided I’m gonna executive produce and finish [Pop Smoke’s] album for him,” he wrote on Instagram before publicly attempting to recruit Drake and Chris Brown for the task.
Meanwhile, “The Box” rapper Roddy Ricch immediately agreed to be a part.
Over the weekend, Pop Smoke’s family released two concise, mournful statements in which they thanked everyone for their support, asked for respect and preemptively announced a foundation they plan to start in his name.
They also confirmed there are no public details about Jackson’s murder. Meanwhile, the murderer(s) reportedly remains at large. According to TMZ, his family held a private ceremony for Jackson in Brooklyn this past weekend.
“Every prayer, call, and act of kindness is deeply appreciated as we mourn the loss of our son, brother and friend,” they wrote. “Brooklyn knew him as Bashar. He was educated and nurtured in Brooklyn and his rise to fame all developed from the place he proudly represented. Within the last year, his extraordinary giftedness was revealed to the world, introducing Pop Smoke.”
There was a lot of life left to live and exceptional music to be made by the Jamaican-Panamanian rapper who shot for the moon and aimed for the stars. But, is this the best way to honor the rising star’s legacy? Will fans share 50’s thrill for the album’s possibly star-studded vision?