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Pop Smoke’s Deadly Day on Instagram  (video)

Pop Smoke: A Tragic End Foretold on Social Media

Pop Smoke, a rising star in the rap industry, was tragically murdered during a home invasion in Los Angeles on February 19, 2020. This story explores the events leading up to the crime, highlighting the role social media played in making him vulnerable, while also detailing his early life and musical achievements.

From Canarsie to Brooklyn Drill King

Born Bashar Barakah Jackson in 1999, Pop Smoke’s life began in the Canarsie neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Details about his early life are private, but his passion for music emerged early. He adopted the name Pop Smoke, a combination of a nickname from childhood friends and a name given to him by his Panamanian grandmother. Although basketball initially held his focus, a heart murmur forced him to shift gears. This redirection led him to hone his rapping skills, and by 2018, he began releasing music.

Musical Rise: “Welcome to the Party” and Beyond

Pop Smoke‘s signature sound blended elements of East Coast hip-hop with Brooklyn drill, a subgenre known for its dark and menacing atmosphere. His breakout hit, “Welcome to the Party,” released in April 2019, established him as a rising star. The song’s haunting melody and Pop Smoke’s distinctive raspy vocals resonated with listeners, propelling him to fame. He followed up with “Dior,” another hit that solidified his place in the rap scene.

A Day Documented: From Arrival to Airbnb

Pop Smoke’s journey is chillingly documented through his Instagram stories. He landed in California on February 18th, showcasing his rented Airbnb in Beverly Hills. Throughout the day, seemingly harmless posts depicted haircuts, poolside relaxation, and shopping sprees.

The Fatal Posts: Location and Wealth Exposed

The turning point came with a post by his friend, Mike D. A picture displayed Pop Smoke holding a wad of cash, with the background revealing a near-complete address. Further compounding the issue, Mike geotagged the location. This information, coupled with later posts showcasing more cash and a diamond-encrusted Rolex, presented both a location and a motive for potential criminals.

Unwitting Vulnerability: Shopping Bags Reveal Too Much

Pop Smoke continued documenting his shopping experiences. Unfortunately, a video displayed Amiri shopping bags with tags revealing the full Airbnb address. This final misstep left him completely exposed.

Predatory Eyes: Opportunity Recognized

Two teenagers from a notorious LA gang noticed Pop Smoke’s location through his stories. Cell phone records confirmed their activity, including scouting the address around midnight. They recruited two more teenagers, and a plan was formed.

A Night of Deadly Decisions

While Pop Smoke recorded music, the teens returned to the Airbnb. They switched vehicles and used Zillow to gain a better understanding of the layout. Around 4:30 AM, they snuck into the house through the balcony.

A Brutal Encounter and Tragic Loss

The home invasion unfolded violently. Pop Smoke was confronted in the shower, robbed, and ultimately shot when he attempted to fight back. Despite being rushed to the hospital, he was pronounced dead just one hour later.

The Aftermath: A Case Solved Through Chance

The killers, initially unaware of the severity of their actions, searched online for news and the price of the stolen Rolex. Months passed before a crucial break. One of the teenagers, arrested for an unrelated crime, confessed to the murder while under cell phone surveillance. Following this lead, the rest of the group was apprehended.

Justice Served, But a Life Lost

The case resulted in murder charges for the adults and juvenile charges for the minors. Pop Smoke’s life, brimming with potential, was tragically cut short due to a series of social media missteps. This story serves as a stark reminder of the dangers of oversharing online, particularly regarding location and valuables. Pop Smoke’s musical legacy, however, lives on. His posthumous album, “Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon,” debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart, a testament to his enduring impact on the rap industry.

Pop Smoke was signed to two record labels:

  • Victor Victor Worldwide (VW): This was Pop Smoke’s primary label. It’s a subsidiary of Universal Music Group and was founded by Steven Victor. Pop Smoke signed with them in April 2019.
  • Republic Records: This major record label co-released Pop Smoke’s music alongside Victor Victor Worldwide.

Some of Pop Smoke’s biggest hits include:

  • “Welcome to the Party” (featuring Nicki Minaj or Skepta): This breakout single in April 2019 established Pop Smoke’s signature sound and rapping style.
  • “Dior” : Another hit released in 2019, “Dior” further solidified Pop Smoke’s place in the rap scene.
  • “War” (featuring Lil Tjay) : A collaborative track with another rising star, “War” showcased Pop Smoke’s drill sound.
  • “Christopher Walking” : Released in January 2020, this song continued Pop Smoke’s momentum leading up to his posthumous album.
  • “Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon” (various artists): This number-one Billboard charting album, released after Pop Smoke’s death, featured collaborations with artists like DaBaby, Lil Baby, and Swae Lee. It included hits like “Make It Rain” (featuring Roddy Ricch) and “The Mood” (featuring Lil Uzi Vert).

Pop Smoke: Tributes, Regrets, and Social Media Warnings

The comments on social media reveal a mix of emotions surrounding Pop Smoke’s tragic death and the factors that contributed to it. Here’s a breakdown of the key points:

  • Tributes and Missed Potential: Fans express their admiration for Pop Smoke’s talent and the impact his music had on them. Many acknowledge his potential for even greater success.
  • Social Media Concerns: Several comments highlight the dangers of oversharing on social media, particularly regarding location and valuables. Pop Smoke’s story serves as a cautionary tale.
  • The Avoidable Tragedy: Many fans voice frustration and sadness over the senselessness of the crime. The small amount of money stolen makes the loss of life even more tragic.
  • Respect for Fighting Back: While some acknowledge the dangers of resisting a robbery, others respect Pop Smoke’s courage in trying to defend himself.
  • Life Cut Short: The comments emphasize Pop Smoke’s young age and the immense loss his death represents for the music industry.

Overall, the comments paint a picture of a talented artist’s life tragically cut short. They serve as a reminder to be mindful of what we share online and the potential consequences.


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