50 Cent and Pop Smoke are not related but did have a close friendship.
Although both had the last name Jackson and are from New York, that last name is the 18th most popular last name in the United States with nearly 820,000 people attached to it. In the wake of Pop Smoke’s death, 50 Cent has spoken multiple times about his friendship with the slain rapper in both interviews and on social media. At no point did 50 Cent mention anything about the pair being related.
Brooklyn rapper Pop Smoke, whose real name was Bashar Jackson, died in February 2020 after being shot in a home in the Hollywood Hills in California. He was 20 years old. On July 3, Pop Smoke’s posthumous album, Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon, was released to popular acclaim. Among the guests on the album was Queens-rapper 50 Cent aka Curtis Jackson, 44. 50 Cent also served as the album’s co-Executive Producer in addition to appearing on the song, “The Woo,” with Roddy Ricch.
At the time of Pop Smoke’s death, 50 Cent wrote in an Instagram post, “No such thing as success without jealousy, treachery comes from those who are close. R.I.P.” During an Instagram Live session amid the coronavirus quarantine, 50 Cent spoke lovingly of his friendship with Pop Smoke.
Shortly After Pop Smoke’s Death, 50 Cent Pledged to Finish His Album for Him
In a different post, 50 Cent wrote, “Rest Up Pop Smoke, you were too young. God Bless and comfort your family. What a crazy trajectory you were on man smh.” 50 Cent also posted a video showing Pop Smoke’s funeral procession. He wrote in the caption, “R.I.P Pop Smoke. He told his mom, he wanted to take her to a award show. So I’m gonna make sure his album gets her there.” 50 Cent said in a March 2020 post of Pop Smoke’s album, “I’m on the move listening to Pop smoke, I decided I’m gonna executive produce and finish his album for him.”
A June 25 feature in The New York Times titled, “The Last Days of Pop Smoke,” said that in the months leading up to his death, his life had been a whirlwind of activity. That included a “multi-hour sit-down with 50 Cent.” 50 Cent described the sit-down as occurring shortly after the rapper was accused of stealing a Rolls Royce and transporting it across state lines. Pop Smoke was posthumously acquitted of the charges in April 2020. 50 Cent told The Times:
The experience was a little weird. Because when I first started talking to him in the office, I was watching and he would look down at his telephone. He was typing at the same time. And there was a point where I’m like, is he listening? I got up so I can kind of see what he was doing, and when I got to the other side of the table, he wasn’t not paying attention to me, he was just writing what I said down. Dead serious.
In the feature, 50 Cent said of Pop Smoke, “He would take the records that he really liked, R&B records, rewrite the lyrics, and then use that as a template for how he’s actually singing it, but he would do it with Auto-Tune.”
In the same feature, 50 Cent said of Pop Smoke’s new album, “We really lost something big.” The “In da Club” rapper continued saying, “What you see when you talk to me is what happens when you get rich. What happened to Pop is what happens when you die trying.”