Pop Smoke, the 20-year-old rapper from Brooklyn whose real name was Bashar Barakah Jackson, was shot and killed on Hercules Drive in the Hollywood Hills in the early hours of February 19, 2020.
That has some people wondering more about his background, including his family. Pop Smoke frequently talked about his mother and father over the years, and he had a sister. He wasn’t married and thus didn’t leave behind a wife. He was very vague in interviews over the years about whether he had a girlfriend.
Pop Smoke was shot and killed at a home that online records show is the residence of singer John Mellencamp’s daughter Teddi Mellencamp Arroyave and her husband.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Pop Smoke Grew Up in a Home in Brooklyn With a Strong Panamanian & Jamaican Heritage
According to The Fader, Pop Smoke was raised in Brooklyn’s Canarsie neighborhood. It’s an area with West Indian influence. His mother “once said he had a voice for rap,” according to The Face.
The site reports that he “grew up in a Panamanian household with a strong female presence and had an early love of sports, playing baseball, football and basketball.”
As a result he briefly went to a prep school on a full scholarship but that didn’t last. “My pops is Panamanian and my mom is Jamaican,” he said in the above video about his mother and father. “I never really grew up with my Jamaican side. I grew up with my Panamanians.”
He said that he grew up with the Jamaican lingo, though.
2. Pop Smoke Had a ‘High Risk’ Teenage Life & Carried Guns to School Growing Up
Growing up, Pop Smoke’s teenage years were described by The New York Times as “high-risk, high-reward,” but the newspaper didn’t offer specifics.
“You like nice things, you got to do things to get nice things,” he said to the Times. “At 16 I had a 5 Series.” The Times also said he was kicked out of school in 8th grade for bringing a gun to school and was once slapped in an incident that ended up on social media.
“I’m glad it happened as a kid,” Pop Smoke said to the Times. “I realized it’s time to boss up — life ain’t sweet.” Now, he hopes to make music that speaks to young people like him, 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.”
The Face reports that Pop Smoke “attended at least nine different schools, and as part of a diversion program connected to a weapon charge that has since been dismissed.”
3. Pop Smoke’s Mom Once Put Her House Up for Sale to Get Him Out of Jail
In January 2020, Pop Smoke was arraigned in a Brooklyn federal court on accusations that he transported a stolen Rolls Royce from California to New York, according to the Queens Eagle.
The newspaper reported he had ties to a Brooklyn gang called 23 G Stone Crips. “Jackson’s lawyer offered up the rapper’s mother’s house in Canarsie as part of the bond deal to have Jackson released,” the story reports.
4. Pop Smoke Doesn’t Have a Wife & Was Mysterious About Whether He Had a Girlfriend
Pop Smoke died at age 20 so he’s too young to have a wife. No, he was not married.
Some sites are reporting he had a girlfriend named Jazzyy Mulani, but that’s unconfirmed. He was really just getting started in his life, as he was only 20 years old when he died. Neither Pop Smoke nor Jazzyy publicly confirmed she was his girlfriend. His Instagram page is girlfriend free.
The Face asked Pop Smoke: “You were recently asked if you had a girlfriend and you replied that you have your sister and your mom.” That was in 2019.
His response was equally vague: “They’re important. And my pops too – that’s my boy.”
5. Pop Smoke Was on His Way to Becoming a Star
Pop Smoke was widely regarded as being on the cusp of stardom. A flattering profile in Stereogum in 2020 reported that he “is the rare Brooklyn growler who’s got at least half a chance of becoming a pop star.”
He was described in that article as the “most prominent voice to come out of the Brooklyn drill scene.” He is best known for the 2019 single Welcome to the Party.
READ NEXT: More on Pop Smoke’s Death.