Written Before Listen
Pop smoke was a New York rapper known for his deep voice and unique beat selection. He unfortunately passed away in February of 2020 due to gun violence. His last album was released posthumously. “Shoot For The Stars, Aim for The Moon”. Ive not listened to the album, but the songs I heard from it were completely different from what I’ve heard Pop Smoke in previously. With that being said, lets see what Pop Smoke and his team has in store for us.
As it is a posthumous album, there is a massive feature list. I wont go over every single feature because it will take forever but I will go over the unique ones. The first ones to show are none other than Kanye West and Pusha T on “Tell The Vision”. Both artists unfortunately underperform embarrassingly. Right after that track, we get “Manslaughter” with Rick Ross & The Dream where Rick Ross delivers but The Dream doesn’t. We then have “Top Shotta” with two unknown names and Pusha T. Pusha T would’ve done good if it wasn’t over this tropical house beat and if you know Pusha T, you know this wont cut. The Chris Brown feature basically ruins the best song and Dua Lipa and Pop Smoke sounds exactly how it sounds on paper. The ones I didn’t mention, basically deliver a forgettable verse/hook but as you can see, with this feature heavy tracklist this provides, the features that are presented here…all do a mediocre job.
The production credits on this thing aren’t the most unusual here. We do have His usual producers such as AXL and 808Melo returning but we also get three beats from The Neptunes. Pop Smoke and Neptunes….on a track….Yep. The beats are a good attempt at matching his style but it doesn’t work. The Drill beats are probably the best on here but it’s not like this is anything new because this is exactly what we expect from a rapper like Pop Smoke. Its not like there are generic beats or anything because thats certainly not the case, it’s more of making beats that just don’t fit with the artists style.
Pop Smokes Performance
Surprise surprise, Pop Smoke is the best thing on the album. I usually like Pop Smokes style. The music I heard from him pre-death was real strong. Surely songs like “Brush Em” and “30” go back to that style but it just doesn’t feel complete. Honestly, a majority of Pop smokes performances just sound incomplete. They aren’t bad…just incomplete.
The Posthumous Treatment
Now here we go to the part where I talk about my problem with posthumous albums. Personally, I think Pop smokes family chose the right people to control the album. Im pretty sure last time 50 Cent helped with the posthumous album but this time, its Pop Smokes main producers and managers. Somehow, it still feels like a money grab. The features, the number of tracks and the incompleteness of Pop Smokes contribution all seems like a money grab to me. I wish they just kept it to “Shoot For The Stars”
To be fair, I didnt mind “Woo Baby” but the Chris Brown feature was awful. I liked the spoken word intro and its ethos behind it, but If I was to be purely honest though, I didn’t like a singular track on here. Each track sounded incomplete in its own unique way
It’s not like I expected it to be this bad, but its more like a understanding of how they treat someones legacy nowadays. I wont be surprised if Juice WRLD gets a posthumous treatment thats even worse than this.