Pop Smoke, born Bashar Barakah Jackson, was one of the biggest breakout rappers in late 2019 and early 2020. He started making music in 2018, and adopted the style of drill music—a sound that was taking over Brooklyn. In April 2019, he released the lead single to his first project, Meet the Woo, “Welcome to the Party.” The song quickly became one of New York’s summer anthems, eventually leading to remixes from artists like Skepta and Nicki Minaj.
After dropping another hit, “Dior,” Pop Smoke became the face of the drill movement in New York City. Capturing the attention of Travis Scott, he ended 2019 on a high note as the two linked up for “Gatti,” a standout record on La Flame’s label compilation, JackBoys. In February of 2020, Pop Smoke released another project, Meet the Woo 2, which included features fromA Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Quavo, Gunna, and PnB Rock. With two projects under his belt, he was widely acknowledged as one of the most promising young rappers to watch in 2020.
Just weeks after the release of Meet the Woo 2, on February 19, 2020, the 20-year-old rapper was fatally shot in a home invasion that occured in Los Angeles’ Hollywood Hills. He is survived by his mother, father, and sister.