This morning, 20-year-old Brooklyn rapper Bashar Barakah Jackson, known by the stage-name Pop Smoke, was murdered in a home invasion in the Hollywood Hills. At around 4:30 AM police were called to a residence due to reports of a shooting; they found Smoke there unresponsive due to a gunshot wound and failed to resuscitate him.
Smoke was a rising star in the music world. His highly successful mixtape Meet The Woo 2, which debuted at number seven on the Billboard 200, was released only a few days ago.
— billboard (@billboard) February 19, 2020
In the wake of his tragic death, it has become clear that many fellow musicians and celebrities held Smoke in high esteem. Tributes have poured in online from various artists praising the late rapper and bemoaning his senseless murder.
One of the first to comment was Nicki Minaj, who had collaborated with Smoke on a remix of his song “Welcome to the Party”. Minaj wrote, “the Bible tells us that jealousy is as cruel as the grave. Unbelievable. Rest In Peace, Pop.” This statement is in reference to a theory that Smoke was murdered in envy due to his newfound success.
Many artists who associated with Smoke took to Instagram to share pictures and memories of him. Quavo, who appeared on Smoke’s recent mixtape, posted a series of pictures showing him and Smoke in the studio along with texts between him and the late rapper. Quavo wrote a caption remembering Smoke as, “very talented, humble, respectful, and appreciative.”
50 Cent also shared a picture of him and Smoke together and echoed Nick Minaj’s murder theory with the caption, “no such thing as success with out jealousy, treachery comes from those who are close. R.i.P.”
Tributes have also poured in on Twitter from several prominent figures. Chance the Rapper wrote, “rest up Pop Smoke, you were too young. God Bless and comfort your family. What a crazy trajectory you were on man smh.” Kylie Jenner shared a, “rest in peace Pop Smoke” tweet and Universal Music Group, who released Smoke’s recent mixtape through Republic Records, wrote on their company Twitter, “we are extremely saddened to learn of the tragic passing of Pop Smoke. He was incredibly talented, kind, and had a bright future ahead of him.”
Rest Up Pop Smoke, you were too young. God Bless and comfort your family. What a crazy trajectory you were on man smh 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾
— Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) February 19, 2020
Pop Smoke was praised in his lifetime for his distinctive voice and style. He is credited by some with establishing, “Brooklyn drill as the premier subgenre in New York” and was thought to be a rising star. He first rose to prominence with the song “Welcome to the Party”, which has garnered over 23 million views since its release in May of last year. Remixes of his signature songs and an appearance on the Travis Scott-led compilation album Jackboys brought him significant attention. Pitchfork magazine said of Smoke’s career, “he clearly had more hits left to make until his life was unfairly cut short, but his impact will forever be left on New York.”