Rising New York rapper Pop Smoke, who spent the last year carving out his own path while collaborating with hip-hop A-listers like Nicki Minaj, Travis Scott, and A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, was reportedly shot and killed early Wednesday morning (February 19), TMZ reports. He was 20 years old.
The artist, born Bashar Barakah Jackson in Brooklyn, New York, was apparently at a home in the Hollywood Hills when two men broke in and fired multiple shots, hitting him. TMZ reported the men wore "hoodies and masks" in an apparent home invasion. Pop Smoke was pronounced dead at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after being rushed by ambulance. The shooters have reportedly neither been caught nor identified.
Local L.A. news station Fox 11 reports the home is an Airbnb listing owned by The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Teddi Mellencamp Arroyave and her husband.
In April 2019, Pop Smoke dropped "Welcome to the Party," a thudding single that showcased his patented husky voice; it was quickly remixed by Minaj and Skepta and became one of the summer's biggest singles. He followed up his 2019 debut album, Meet the Woo, with a super-sized sequel, Meet the Woo 2, which was released only 12 days prior. It featured collaborations with Quavo, A Boogie, Lil Tjay, and more.
He was scheduled to perform at Pharrell Williams's Something in the Water festival in April. His parent label, Republic Records (to which Pop Smoke was signed via Victor Victor Worldwide), offered their condolences in a statement: "We are devastated by the unexpected and tragic loss of Pop Smoke. Our prayers and thoughts go out to his family, friends and fans, as we mourn this loss together."
Tributes from those in the music community and other fans and friends have begun to hit social media.
Minaj posted a photo of Pop Smoke to Instagram along with the caption, "The Bible tells us that jealousy is as cruel as the grave. Unbelievable. Rest In Peace, Pop." "Damn we was just together loc," wrote Gunna, his collaborator on a "Dior" remix. "R.I.P @realpopsmoke 👼🙏🏽 life too short !"
Freddie Gibbs, meanwhile, paid a compliment. "We was in the lab last night comparing Pop Smoke to 50 when he came out. #RIP," he tweeted. 50 Cent himself also weighed in: "R.I.P to my man Pop Smoke, No sympathy for winners. 🕊God bless him."
This is a developing story. We'll add more details as they emerge.