This album is a posthumous album, released by the late American rapper, Pop Smoke. The rapper rose to fame in April 2019 after he dropped the song “welcome to the party”. Ever since then the rapper released three more albums before his death in February 2020 at the age of 20.
The rapper was already working on an album before his untimely death, but he was unable to complete the album. His manager, Steven Victor and his mentor 50cent, helped to complete the album, they helped to make a collection of songs that were not complete, feel complete. The album was finally released on July 7th 2020, and so far it was widely appreciated by his fans worldwide, but they all felt that the album was missing something in particular, which was the artist himself.
The album arrives on grim, foreboding cuts like “Aim for the Moon” and “44 Bulldog” but drifts a little with every song. By the closing stretch, Pop is putting his own spin on late ’90s and 2000s R&B staples like Ginuwine’s “Differences” (“What You Know Bout Love”), Tamia’s “So Into You” (“Something Special”), and Playa’s “Cheers 2 U” (“Diana”). He’s figuring himself out, seeing what works. There are too many guests, too much radio fodder, and not enough snide, rude, funny bars. The main artist feels profoundly missing.
This mix of present and future drill staples, textbook New York commercial rap anthems, and careful R&B exercises is smart career planning, though. Cuts like “Yea Yea” and “Creature” suggest a “21 Questions” moment, where a tough-guy rapper pivots flawlessly into romance, was on the horizon. Killer trap collaborayion with Roddy (“The Woo”) and Future (“Snitching”) would’ve silenced anyone who tried to accuse Pop of being a one-dimensional artist.
The Karol G spot on “Enjoy Yourself” should have been the first of many urbano excursions for a rapper who was clearly interested. The curse of a posthumous album is that it shows what roads an artist could have traveled that they can’t travel anymore. Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon should have been a stepping stone, not a capstone.
If it itches as a final album, it’s because Pop Smoke should be here figuring out how to broaden his horizons and refine his craft even further. Still, you can hear him in the wobbling bass.