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Pop Smoke’s estate has given the greenlight to release the rapper’s debut album, Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon, which is available today.
In February 2020, Pop Smoke was shot and killed during an attempted home invasion robbery in the Hollywood Hills. A week after his death, the LAPD conducted a full investigation into whether the murder may have been gang related. “I am not comfortable calling it a robbery right now,” said LAPD Captain Jonathan Tippet. “There is a lot of information available. We have some work to do.” While the motive remains a mystery and the case is still unsolved, security video shows at least four suspects were involved.
Despite the unforeseen circumstances, Pop Smoke’s manager, Steven Victor, promised to release his posthumous album over the summer. Initially, the date was set for June 12 before being pushed to July 3 due to the ongoing protests against systemic racism that followed the death of George Floyd.
"The experience was a little weird. Because when I first started talking to him in the office, I was watching and he would look down at his telephone," 50 said. "He was typing at the same time. And there was a point where I’m like, is he listening? I got up so I can kind of see what he was doing, and when I got to the other side of the table, he wasn’t not paying attention to me, he was just writing what I said down. Dead serious."
50 is featured on the album on a track called “The Woo” featuring Roddy Ricch. Other guests include Quavo, Lil Baby, DaBaby, Swae Lee, Future, Rowdy Rebel (on “Make It Rain”), Tyga, Karol G, and King Combs. Mostly produced by 808Melo, who is behind “Welcome to the Party” and “Dior,” the project plans to build upon the legacy he left for his fans.
The artwork for Pop Smoke's album was designed by Virgil Abloh. Though Victor say it was a request honored by Pop Smoke, his fans didn't approve of the cover. At the time, Victor said he will change the artwork. "B R B, MAKING A CHANGE, POP WOULD LISTEN TO HIS FANS!" he wrote on Twitter. Victor eventually came through with new artwork, which you can view below or above.
In his last editorial interview, Pop Smoke spoke with Complex about his mindset and what he wanted to do with his career.
“I gotta stay fully focused. Tunnel vision,” he said. “I gotta be selfish for right now, until you build your empire to where you could bring people in and help them. That’s the only way you gon’ be the best.”
After the release of Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon, there are plans to release a documentary that follows his life. Pop Smoke’s family also announced a non-profit foundation named Shoot for the Stars. It is an organization that will focus on helping and “inspiring inner-city youth” and turn “their pain into champagne by making their dreams a reality,” says his mother, Ms. Jackson.
Shortly after the album was released, Pop Smoke's close friend Mike Dee hinted that a deluxe version of the project will be released down the line.
Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon Deluxe...July 20?!? 💫💫— Complex Music (@ComplexMusic) July 3, 2020
we might be getting more Pop Smoke sooner than we think pic.twitter.com/GJZfGBAqz0
You can stream Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon below. A music video for Pop Smoke's "Got It on Me" was also released to coincide with the drop of the album, which you can watch up top. The song interpolates lyrics from 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin' single "Many Men (Wish Death)."