- 🇺🇸 Brooklyn, NY
- Years Active
2017 - 2020
Pop Smoke's 2019 breakthrough "Welcome to the Party" vaulted drill music into the pop mainstream when it climbed to number two on the Billboard Hot 100 - the first-ever drill single to reach the pop Top Ten.
Pop Smoke was born Bashar Barakah Jackson in 1999, deriving his alias by combining Poppa, the nickname bestowed by his Panamanian grandmother, with Smocco Guwop, a childhood sobriquet later repurposed as his first Instagram handle. Pop Smoke made his first recording in 2018, rapping over beats nicked from East London-based producer 808Melo's YouTube channel: the resulting "MPR (Panic Part 3 Remix)" quickly racked up more than a million plays on Spotify, leading to a deal with Universal's Victor Victor Worldwide subsidiary.
"Welcome to the Party," an uncompromisingly raw showcase for Pop Smoke's bleak, lurid narratives and sinister delivery, quickly went viral after it was released on Soundcloud in April 2019, gathering millions of views on YouTube and more than a billion streams on Spotify on its way to bringing unprecedented media attention to drill (a hip-hop offshoot birthed in Chicago during the early 2010s and noted for its sonic similarities to trap music and thematic similarities to old-school gangsta rap). Pop Smoke's run as Brooklyn drill's biggest star proved sadly short-lived, however: he was murdered by gunmen during a February 2020 assault on his rented Hollywood Hills, Calif. residence. Pop Smoke was just 20 years old at the time of his death; ‘Dior," the second single from his debut album Meet the Woo, was a posthumous pop hit.