Pop Smoke‘s debut album is here, and it veritably slaps. Executive produced by 50 Cent, the 19-track, hour-long Shoot For The Stars Aim For The Moon divulges on the continued positive trajectory that Smoke was on through his young music career, giving fans a look at what was in the pipeline.
The record was pushed back from its original release date due to the racial injustice protests that took place in the wake of George Floyd’s murder by Minnesota police officers. However, Smoke’s camp released the lone single off of the album, “Make It Rain,” on June 12, 2020, and it peaked at No. 51 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Posthumous music release reception is black and white – either the fans love it or hate it. No in-between. It’s clear in the case of Shoot For The Stars Aim For The Moon, the project was close to completion when Smoke passed away. The music fits right in with his catalog to date, both lyrically and stylistically. We believe Smoke would have been pleased with the final product.
In the wake of Floyd’s murder, Smoke’s track “Dior,” which is featured on Shoot For The Stars Aim For The Moon as a bonus track, became a rallying cry at Black Lives Matter demonstrations in New York City.
The album boasts a long list of prominent features, including 50 Cent, Lil Baby, Quavo, Swae Lee, Future, DaBaby and Tyga.
Outside of the aforementioned single “Make It Rain,” on first listen, tracks that stand out are “Gangstas,” “Creature” with Swae Lee and “Something Special.”
On the piano-driven “Gangstas,” Smoke touts himself as “the voice of New York.” Smoke goes on to diss scream-rap rising star 6ix9ine, “I don’t want none of that extra loud sh*t // Or sing anything of that rainbow hair sh*t.” As of time of writing, 6ix9ine has made no mention on his social media channels to the diss.
On “Creature,” Swae Lee continues his personal trend of stealing songs he is featured on, coming in heavier than Smoke and rapping about the illustrious sex-life of modern rappers. What caught my attention on this track was the beat. 808Melo comes through with a jammy trap-inspired sound that makes sonically exults the track above the rest on Aim For The Stars.
“Something Special” is a classic 90s R&B track, sampling Tamia‘s 1998 hit “So Into You” throughout, and describes Smoke’s love interest in an endearing and articulate fashion. Smoke goes on to divulge on their sex life together with, “Fly and discreet, a demon in the sheets.”
It has been five months since 20-year-old Bashar Jackson, a.k.a. Pop Smoke, was killed in a home invasion. On July 9, arrests were made in connection with Smoke’s murder as five individuals were apprehended by Los Angeles Police. Beyond that, we still have no concept of how the court case will play out due to the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down the world just weeks after Smoke’s killing. Charges have not yet been laid, and many questions have yet to be answered. While Smoke is gone, Shoot For The Stars Aim For The Moon is a solid spark in helping the fire that is his legacy to burn on for years to come.
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