When we first heard the Canarsie (read Flossy) MC aggressively rap about high fashion, party drugs and violence over UK ‘Grime’ beats we were captivated. Brooklyn Drill was brought to the masses. Welcome To The Party took over that summer as massive amounts of liquor was spilled any time it was played in group settings. Pop Smoke born Bashar Barakah Jackson, is a star. His energy radiates through his music and his social media posts. From dancing in bodegas to poetically expressing he is down for whatever if it occurs (I’m a thot; get me lit is poetry I dare you to convince me otherwise). His first mixtape “Meet The Woo” was filled with similar sounds and themes and the world became familiar with Brooklyn Drill. To me, it’s the songs that didn’t gain as much popularity that showed me what was to come. Those songs came to be the seeds that grew into his number 1 debut album “Shoot For The Stars, Aim For The Moon”.
“PTSD” on “Meet The Woo” shows Pop Smoke for exactly who he is, a young man that plays the cards he was dealt and made it out of his situation but not without drawbacks. Instantly you knew his content was deeper than just music you lose your mind to at a party. Musically you could hear the melodies and cadences Pop would further develop with the few moments on his first project.
He further showed his propensity for making melody driven gangsta tunes on “Meet The Woo 2” as he sung more hooks throughout the project. He even showed his crossover potential as he made hood love songs that would make the toughest gangsta tell their significant other “ Yo but I really fuck with you, you different deadass”.
Fast forward to Pop Smoke’s debut, executive produced by 50 Cent, that Brooklyn Drill sound that we all came to know him for had evolved. “Shoot For The Stars, Aim For The Moon” is the marriage of two worlds that Pop Smoke was sure to dominate for years to come. Not since Nate Dogg (well Max B and Tim Vocals might disagree) have we heard someone beautifully harmonize threats. We were robbed of seeing him further develop, making this album the culmination of the evolution of Pop Smoke. As the world is enjoying this album and rightfully so; I sit back and think of the loss Hip-Hop suffered, Rest In Power Bashar Barakah Jackson aka Pop Smoke.