Late Brooklyn, New York rapper Pop Smoke was a huge fan of Los Angeles Lakers icon, Kobe Bryant.
“That was my favorite player,” Pop Smoke told Sirius/XM Radio’s DJ Whoo Kid while pointing to the sky in one of his last interviews.
Bryant died in a helicopter crash that took the lives of nine people, including Bryant’s daughter, Gigi on Sunday, January 26; a day after LeBron James passed Bryant on the NBA’s all-time scoring list in a game against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA.
Less than a month after Bryant’s untimely death, Pop Smoke, 20, was shot and killed in a home invasion in Beverly Hills, California.
Pop Smoke also had a respect for LeBron James. “Look LeBron James is nice,” he told DJ Whoo Kid. “He’s def the best player right now. Kobe’s body is different though.”
This afternoon, I checked in with Pop Smoke’s brother, Obasi Jackson. He’s also in the music scene.
Known as Baz, his single “Work” is a tribute to his later brother. The single begins with an auto-tuned melody describing the hard work and dedication he has committed to his journey through the trials and tribulations of life.
In the single’s music video, Obasi is seen in his childhood neighborhood and ending with him driving off in a Rolls Royce Wraith, conveying the results of his devotion to success.
The song is set to release with a video collaborated with JLShotThat, in which he dedicates as a tribute to his fallen soldier. The video periodically displays captions of Smoke’s funeral procession and fan’s memorials created around New York City in his honor.
We discuss Pop Smoke’s journey, love for Kobe Bryant, 50 Cent‘s influence and his own budding music career.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: How are you and your family healing since the tragic death of your brother, Pop Smoke?
Obasi Jackson: The healing process has not been easy. We all try to stay busy understanding that we have to continue to do work in his name. I would say it brought my family closer as well.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: How is your mental health? My mental health is honestly shaky at times but I meditate and I pray.
Obasi Jackson: Sometimes it’s hard to think, but I’m taking it one day at a time.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Your song, “Work” tributes your brother. How long did it take you to get into a good creative space to put pen to pad and then hit the studio?
Obasi Jackson: The funny thing is I made Work at the end of last year. It didn’t take me long to make the song. I recorded the original in my dorm.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Who are some of your musical influences? Erykah Badu, Common,Drake, Jcole, Ty Dolla Sign, Khalid, Chris Brown, and Daniel Cesar.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Do you think who you’re related to helps you?
Obasi Jackson: Of course…I understand what comes with being pop smokes brother. It’s not about that though. I still have to make a name for myself.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: What artists do you want to work with? John Mayer, Ed Sheeran, drake, J Cole, H.E.R, Jhene Aiko, Chris Brown plus some artist of the artists I mentioned from before.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: On Me gave me chills when I listened to it. It’s Many Men Part 2 but 15 years later. How much did 50 Cent influence your brother?
Obasi Jackson: 50 Cent influenced my brother a lot. 50 revolutionized hip hop by singing on hooks while makin gangster rap. Pop revolutionized drill rap and made it totally commercial.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: What were his top 50 Cent songs?
Obasi Jackson: Many Men, Candy shop, When It Rains It Pours and I’ll Whip Ya Head Boy.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: What do you want people to know about your brother besides his musical talent?
Obasi Jackson: I want them to know he was more than a gang member. He was more than just “Woo.” He was bigger than his situations. He made a way outta no way. Everyone genuinely loved him.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Personal safety is an issue for celebrities and especially rappers. What message would you convey to many in the industry about the importance of safety?
Obasi Jackson: Make sure you’re dotting I’s and crossing t’s. Don’t give anybody else the keys to your car. Make sure you’re driving and in control; metaphorically speaking.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: The LAPD recent arrested five men who are believed to be in connection with your brother’s murder. Are you satisfied with the progress of this case?
Obasi Jackson: I’m happy there’s some kind of justice but it doesn’t stop my moms tears or mines. I have to give thanks for progress though.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: What’s next for you?
Obasi Jackson: Taking my time focusing on the business side of things. I’m focused on the next big thing.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Your brother was a Kobe fan. He discussed it in an interview with DJ Whoo Kid. How much Kobe and LeBron did you guys watch together?
Obasi Jackson: A lot!! He used to hate how much of a LeBron fan I was. I couldn’t tell him anything about Kobe and he definitely couldn’t tell me anything about King James.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Has Dior reached out to you or your family at all? Would you like to do a collaboration?
Obasi Jackson: Dior sent flowers In The beginning when pop first died. Other than that, they don’t talk to us really. I would love to do a collab. It would really push me into the fashion realm!