Pop Smoke was shot dead in the Hollywood Hills on February 19, 2020. He was 20 years old. There have been no arrests in his killing. The rapper was just beginning his career on the strength of his songs, “Dior” and “Welcome to the Party.”
Around 4:30 a.m. on February 19, four men entered the house that the rapper had been renting in Los Angeles. At least one of those men was wearing a ski mask and was armed with a handgun. The house was owned by Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Teddi Mellencamp. One of those invaders shot Pop Smoke, real name Bashar Jackson, in the torso. Police arrived at the scene six minutes after the shooting took place. The rapper was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. TMZ reported in March 2020 that doctors at the hospital performed a thoracotomy, a procedure where the chest is opened. The site speculated that this was done in an attempt to remove bullets.
Pop Smoke is buried in Green-Wood Cemetary in Brooklyn, New York, on March 5. News12 Brooklyn reported at the time that his casket was placed in a glass box on a horse-drawn carriage during the slain rapper’s funeral procession. Pop Smoke was a native of the Canarsie section of Brooklyn.
Pop Smoke’s Posthumous Album Dropped on July 3 to Positive Reviews
On July 3, Pop Smoke’s posthumous album Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon was released to positive reviews. One review of the album remarked, “I will honestly play this album to my future children. It’s incredible. I’d been waiting all day for it to come out, I listened straight away.”
The New York Times reported on February 26 that the investigators looking into Pop Smoke’s murder didn’t know if the rapper was targeted as part of a robbery or if it was gang-related. Capt. Jonathan L. Tippet of the LAPD is quoted in the story as saying there was no evidence to suggest a gang from the East Coast to target Pop Smoke.
In October 2019, Pop Smoke as one of five rappers who were prevented from performing at the Rolling Loud festival in Queens, New York. The NYPD line at the time said that Pop Smoke and the other rappers were “affiliated with recent acts of violence citywide.” An NYPD statement added that the department believed “if these individuals are allowed to perform, there will be a higher risk of violence.”
The Investigation Into Pop Smoke’s Death Has Stalled Due to Coronavirus
TMZ reported in March 2020 that the investigation had stalled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Law enforcement sources told the website that coronavirus had become the department’s top priority leaving less time to investigate murders and other crimes.
Charges Against the Late Rapper Over an Alleged Car Theft Were Dropped in April 2020
In April 2020, it was reported that charges against the rapper involving allegations he transported a stolen Rolls Royce car across state lines were dropped. The car was used in one of Pop Smoke’s music videos.