Pop Smoke's debut studio full-length, this month's Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon, is eyeing a No. 1 debut on the Billboard 200 albums chart. The stacked album is an inarguable summer 2020 high mark and—thanks in part to memorable contributions from 50 Cent, DaBaby, Karol G, and more—serves as a fitting statement on the lasting impression of the late artist whose impact will surely be felt for years to come.
In Complex's new cover story, more than 40 people who worked on Pop Smoke's album spoke on the process of making it, as well as shared details on the impending release of a Shoot for the Stars deluxe edition.
"We've still got more songs together," Quavo, who appeared on a trio of tracks off the initial album release, said. "I've got records in my phone that he would always send me. He was like, ‘Huncho Woo, Huncho Woo, Huncho Woo!’ Some of the records are already done, and they're on this album right now, but we've got, like, five or six more that will hopefully be on the deluxe."
Tyga, meanwhile, revealed that he and Pop Smoke made three records in total. He also put down a verse for "Enjoy Yourself," the standard edition of which already features Karol G, and he's hoping to see that pop up on the deluxe.
"When we started doing music about a year ago, it was a song called 'Bugatti Baby,'" he added. "On the hook, he said, 'My bitch go loco.' That was the first drill beat I got on, but it never came out."
Engineer Jess Jackson, speaking on the production behind the standard edition tracks, talked about extensive amount of work that went into getting this album to the fans. "I was still producing songs yesterday [June 30], and I turned in the album last night at six in the morning," he explained. "It hasn't been a leisurely process over the past six months. It's been 10- or 12-hour days, every single day. I still have to do the deluxe version now. So the next week is going to be mixing and mastering the additional eight songs."
And Steven Victor, founder and CEO of Victor Victor Worldwide, said fans can look forward to a new Migos x Pop Smoke track, a collab that will most likely land on the next Migos album.
"Quavo, Offset, and Pop Smoke also made a song together called 'Light It Up,' which is probably going to be on the Migos' album. It was originally Pop's record, though," he said of the song. "When we were working on the album, Ben [Lust] kept on telling me about this song called 'Snitching.' For months, I'd be asking Quavo, 'Yo, let me just hear the record.' And then, finally, he sent it to me one day. He was like, 'I'll give you this record in exchange for the 'Light It Up' record.'"
Elsewhere in the cover feature, 50 Cent—an executive producer on Shoot for the Stars—said that he had heard as many as "50 or 60" songs in varying stages of completion. He also teased a sequel to the album, as well as revealed that he's "not getting paid off" the release.
"Easily, there's a part two to this, or another album," 50 said. "I say part two because there’s things that were in the playlist that didn’t make the list for the album. So those would be the records that came if it became a part two, because they already sonically match up with what's there."
The music, 50 added, does a good job at showcasing Pop Smoke's potential. "When people get a chance to really listen to it, it'll grow on them," he said.
You can read the full cover story here.