A Dirge for Pop Smoke
The reality of the rapper’s life and death.
It’s eerie to think that another Brooklyn, New York rapper has been gunned down in Los Angeles, California. Does it matter that Pop Smoke resided in a posh Airbnb in the Hollywood Hills, a step up from being shot to death in a green GMC like the Notorious B.I.G.? Pop Smoke served as a pulse in the body of the Republic of Brooklyn. He represented the hip hop scene that boasts the greatest rapper of all time, Brooklynite Mr. Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter. This pulse subsided and eventually faded away.
Poised to ascend to the level of greatness that is promised to those who put in the work without exerting too much effort; to those ready to create songs, shoot videos, or tour makes all the difference. At the time of this writing, specifics as to what exactly happened and who did the misdeed of killing Pop Smoke remain nonexistent.
Pop Smoke spoke on songs like “PTSD” how rubbery that term can be. As it began with injured and ill-stricken warriors on the battlefield, Pop Smoke permitted the term to be applied as most people now do to anyone who has experienced severe psychic trauma.
We say “respect the shooter” in reply to Pop Smoke’s death. It is because of his actions that led to his ultimate demise. Yet at the same time, it’s important to remember that Pop Smoke stood for his honor and the well-being of his constituents. He bubbled up to the surface to release Meet the Woo 2 which reached the number 7 spot on the Billboard 200.
Allegedly, his death remains to be a gang hit. And if you are looking like food and you’re showing your plate as Pop Smoke did, he may have deserved a bullet. The talented young man ought to be recalled as someone who attempted to make a way for himself. But was Pop Smoke a self-absorbed prestige-seeker? What did he do to further his own life without stepping on the feet of others? Was he a master over people and slave to shiny chains and luxury automobiles? And speaking of high-end cars, why did Pop Smoke steal the $300,000+ Rolls Royce and stunt on the owner? Pop Smoke said that he’s “not going out like Martin Luther.” This goes back to Biggie Smalls saying, “I bet ya Biggie won’t slip.” These rappers talk a good game but fail to realize that they can be touched like anyone else. It’s the tough talk and male posturing that trivialize these acts of the start of physical force. Don’t the rappers see that if they are in fact caught slipping, that their lyrics will remain ironic at best or chilling and damn near laughable at worst?
What brings the idea of Pop Smoke being laid down in LA is the fact that East Coast West Coast tension may be cleared from the industry of music but not the streets. While Pop Smoke may have been born just before the turn of the century, the slithering snake of time allowed him to rise up to just reaching critical mass only to be struck down based on the NY/LA beef that existed during the decade of his birth.
Talent, drive, and consistency allowed Pop Smoke to climb his way up through the ranks like an officer in the United States Armed Forces. He held the clarity of vision and the intelligence to lift himself up to the point of being a young man ready for battle. It’s just too bad that he did not have the smarts to not steal cars, show his address, and be out here like everything is sweet. He will be remembered more for his flaws than for his great strides, sadly.