In search of its first megastar in ages, the big apple stumbled upon greatness in the form of Pop Smoke. The drill rapper from Brooklyn was the perfect combination of looks, charisma, and talent. Breaking onto the scene with singles like “Welcome To The Party” and “Dior,” Pop was the IT artist.
For the first time in a long time, since 50 Cent G-unit Days, New York had a male rapper who was international. This piece is not a what-if story because that narrative is played out. It is a what is and forever story, the story of the woo.
In every club and every borough, you hear Pop Smoke at least fifteen times a day from almost every age range. That is quite incredible considering the number of artists buzzing from the city.
From 10 to 80 years of age, you can guarantee that Pop is getting plays in somebody’s favorite DSP daily. Now, what made his sound so irresistible? Was it his grizzly voice? The catchy hooks with incredible drill production? His handsome looks that captured the eyes of ladies all over the world? His underrated lyrical prowess portrayed in a single such as “PTSD?”
While those aspects played a part in his rise to fame, the real key was his bravado. Similar to 50 Cent when he was in his prime, Pop had a one-of-a-kind charisma about him. I saw him live twice and this man would just touch the stage and people would go ballistic. I haven’t seen anything like that since watching videos of Michael Jackson as a kid making people faint. He didn’t even have to say a word, the fans would recite his lyrics for him.
The Impact Of Pop Smoke
That natural star appeal attracted all kinds of people towards him. From all the radio stations to the everyday people of the world to the culture and OGs in music, everyone showed Pop love and he embraced it fully. Never did he seem to be anything but himself.
With the rise of Pop Smoke came the rise of other various drill rappers from the city. New York always had its crime issues but Pop inspired gangsters to channel their talents in positive ways. Although this specific sub-genre of drill originated in New York, his efforts brought it around the world. He inspired the youth and rappers to use music to make it out of their hoods and to give back.
Pop is often associated with his affiliations, but that shouldn’t take priority over his legacy as an artist and a legend. Moving to the New York area in late 2019, I saw firsthand and heard stories of the joy Pop brought to the people. He was and always will be one of the most joyful artists to grace the big apple.
Pop was the type of person naturally to talk to everybody and treat them with respect. To him, if you’re alive, you deserved respect. He grew up going to church and was his parents instilled good morals. Bashar Barakah Jackson sought to be the best role model possible while maintaining the innocence of a 20-year-old.
A Different Breed
According to an article in The New York Times, he was motivated by “the opportunity to provide some semblance of hope to children. Who got to carry their guns to school because it ain’t safe; but they still got to make sure they get they diploma ’cause they mom could be happy. I do it for them. That’s me.”
That mindset from somebody that young is not normal. Among his peers that make music for fun, Pop was a rare breed: a pure entertainer. Music wasn’t just a tool for fame but a resource to inspire hope.
Pop provided a sense of optimism not only to fellow rappers but to the citizen of New York. He was a beacon of hope in a concrete jungle, evidence that anything is possible regardless of circumstance. The story of the woo is more than just an entertainer lost before his prime but an artist who was an example. He advocated for those around him to live their best lives and inspire others to do so. That is the real story of the woo. Rest in peace Pop Smoke, we miss you.