Pop Smoke is still being recognized over a year after his death— taking home four posthumous awards at the 2021 Billboard Music Awards, according to Insidenova.com. The late rap artist, who was shot to death in February of 2020, won the awards for Top New Artist, Top Rap Artist, Top Rap Male Artist, and Top Rap Album— all of which were awarded to him for his posthumous album, ‘Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon’ which was released in July of last year.
Pop Smoke, whose real name was Bashar Barakah Jackson, was an up and coming rapper raised in Brooklyn, New York. Pop Smoke began garnering attention following his 2019 releases: ‘Welcome to the Party’ and ‘Dior.’ He signed a recording contract with Republic Records and released two mixtapes with them— the second of which was released shortly before his death. In February of last year, the up and coming rapper was fatally shot during a home invasion in Los Angeles— he was only 20 years old.
Accepting the awards on his behalf was his mother, Audrey Jackson, who made emotional tributes to her son throughout the night. “Thank you to the fans for honoring the life and spirit of my son, so much that he continues to manifest as if he were still here in flesh,” she said. “He created music for the kid who has to sleep four in a room, the kid who has to figure out how to get to school each day so he can graduate and make his mom proud. He did this so that 14 year olds would not have to kill to prove they are somebody.”
The brutal irony of all this, of course, wasn’t lost on her. Her son was killed by four teens, the youngest of which— and the suspect who has allegedly admitted to pulling the trigger— was only fifteen years old. The alleged shooter claimed that the confrontation began after they asked the rapper for jewelry, which led to a fight that escalated into shots being fired. The young rapper was allegedly shot three times in the back, according to NY Daily News.
This young and talented rapper lost his life over some jewelry. And the world, in turn, lost years of creative energy in the blink of an eye. But still, even in death, Pop Smoke has reached massive levels of success. His debut album is now considered the longest-running No. 1 record on the Billboard Top Rap Albums chart, according to revolt.tv, and has been sitting at No. 1 for 20 weeks as of March of this year. Still, none of this success can ever replace the talent that we’ve lost, and the rap world continues to mourn the young star that was taken from us too soon. Regardless though, Pop Smoke’s brief career has garnered him an enduring legacy, and fans won’t be quick to forget the booming vocals that defined Pop Smoke’s short-lived music career.