If you’re into rap music, chances are you’ve heard of Pop Smoke. He was a Brooklyn native who became a huge deal in the city’s drill scene, and his unique sound quickly became a hit across the nation. Sadly, he was shot and killed in his Hollywood Hills home on February 19, 2020, which makes his success even more poignant.
Pop Smoke’s debut mixtape, ‘Meet the Woo’, dropped in 2019, and it was soon followed up by ‘Meet the Woo 2’. He was on a roll, and his sound blended drill and trap into something electric that was all his own. Even Kanye West was influenced by his music!
After Pop Smoke’s death, his first full-length studio album was released, ‘Shoot for the Moon, Aim for the Stars’. It debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, selling over 250,000 copies in its first week. The album was executive-produced by 50 Cent and was a huge success, although it was also bittersweet because it was the last album Pop Smoke had full input on.
Despite his relatively short career, Pop Smoke left behind an impressive collection of music. Today, we’re going to look at the ten best songs from his vault, and trust us – you need to hear them.
10. Welcome to the Party
If you’re a fan of Pop Smoke, then you know that “Welcome to the Party” is one of his most popular tracks off his breakout mixtape ‘Meet the Woo’. This drill-based banger is definitely a crowd-pleaser, thanks to Pop Smoke’s iconic hooks and memorable lyrics. His deep and menacing voice just cuts through anything and everything!
This track is a perfect example of Pop Smoke’s signature style. He flexes his luxurious lifestyle and even mumbles about how he gets the boy up and then goes to skate in a rari. It’s so catchy that you just can’t help but jump around to it.
Now, while “Dior” may have ended up being his most-streamed track, “Welcome to the Party” is the one that really put the New York drill scene on the map. Pop Smoke himself even addressed the hook in a Genius interview, where he explained that the drug and gun-related lyricism is not meant to glorify that lifestyle. It’s just a reflection of the environment he grew up in, where people often turn to drugs to ease their pain.
Pop Smoke’s “Dior” is a banger that you just can’t miss! This track, which is the sixth one on his first mixtape called ‘Meet the Woo’, has a dope violin sample and hard-hitting 808s that you can’t resist nodding your head to. You know what else is sick? Pop Smoke’s sick flow! He goes from spitting fire verses to throwing in catchy adlibs seamlessly, making the track even more captivating.
What’s also cool about this song is the way Pop Smoke flaunts his success, especially with the line “Christian Dior, Dior, I’m all up in the stores.” Can you blame him? The dude came from a tough background, getting kicked out of school in the eighth grade. It’s pretty amazing how he turned his life around and made it big.
It’s no wonder why “Dior” became so popular that it was played in clubs all over the country in 2019. This track will forever be a part of Pop Smoke’s legacy, showcasing his talents as an artist and his ability to create ear-catching music.
8. 44 Bulldog
If you’re a fan of Pop Smoke, you’re probably familiar with his mixtapes ‘Meet the Woo.’ But with his first studio release, ‘Shoot for the Moon, Aim for the Stars,’ Pop Smoke experimented with a more melodic sound, which was a departure from his usual cohesive ragers. However, “44 Bulldog” stands out as an exception. In this track, Pop Smoke takes center stage and doesn’t hold back.
The song’s title references a British pocket revolver, which is fitting given Pop Smoke’s experience with gun violence growing up in a crime-ridden neighborhood. The track’s menacing piano chords and overtly loud ad-libs immediately draw you in, creating a unique and eerie vibe. Pop Smoke’s slick lyricism is on full display, showcasing him at his best as a rapper. Lines like “I kicked her out ’cause I’m allergic to the cuffin'” and “I ain’t talk with the talk or the chit-chat” add to the powerful aura that Pop Smoke created around himself.
Overall, “44 Bulldog” is a track that highlights Pop Smoke’s talent as a rapper and his ability to create a powerful and menacing vibe in his music.
If you’re a fan of the ‘JACKBOYS’ mixtape, you probably know about the seventh and final track on the album, ‘Gatti’. This song received mixed reviews from listeners when it first hit streaming services, but it’s become a popular track since then.
One reason ‘Gatti’ stood out was because of Pop Smoke’s unique New York drill style. At the time, this type of rap was still relatively new to the mainstream scene, so some fans of more traditional trap music were caught off guard. However, this collaboration helped open doors for Pop Smoke to work with other big-name artists like Travis Scott and Don Toliver.
Pop Smoke’s voice is what makes ‘Gatti’ stand out. He raps alongside other well-known names in the industry, but his style is distinct and memorable. The drill beat is intricate and adds to the song’s energy, and Pop Smoke’s relentless flow fits perfectly with the production.
It’s worth noting that Travis Scott paid tribute to Pop Smoke in 2021 by creating a new Dior Collection. This just goes to show how much of an impact Pop Smoke had on the rap scene and how his music continues to be remembered and celebrated.
6. Hawk Em
If you’re a fan of Pop Smoke, you might have overlooked “Hawk Em” – the third track from his debut mixtape. But don’t let that fool you – it’s still a great track in its own right. With a combination of echoing snares, distant piano chords, and a booming bass, it’s a classic drill song that still stands out today.
While the beat may sound familiar to “Off the Grid” from Kanye West’s ‘Donda’, Pop Smoke’s slightly faster flow adds a unique touch to the song. It’s worth noting that the song was groundbreaking at the time of its release in 2019, blending Chicago and UK drill in a way that was relatively new to the scene.
Despite its simplicity, “Hawk Em” remains a fan favorite. The track gets straight to the point, with Pop Smoke confidently strolling through the streets of New York City as a “gentlemen and a gangster.” His rhymes were already making waves in the East Coast drill scene, and it’s clear to see why.
In short, “Hawk Em” proves that a song doesn’t have to be overly complex to be enjoyable. It’s a classic example of Pop Smoke’s talent and the impact he made on the music industry, even at the early stages of his career.
If you’re a fan of old-school bling-era sound, you can’t miss the 50 Cent influence in Pop Smoke’s “Gangstas.” The track starts with twinkling piano keys and then drops into a bass-boosted banger that brings the early 2000s to mind. The song seamlessly blends the classic sound with Pop Smoke’s modern drill vibe, making it a must-listen.
On the album ‘Shoot for the Moon, Aim for the Stars,’ 50 Cent’s imprint is undeniable. As an executive producer, he played a significant role in the making of the album. In addition, he also delivered a feature on the track ‘The Woo,’ which also features Lil Baby.
Lyrically, Pop Smoke does not disappoint on “Gangstas.” He channels 50 Cent’s early 2000s style and portrays himself as a ring leader of the New York rap scene. His bars, such as “I’m the f**kin voice of the streets, it’s like Jesus walkin'” or “six by six, big Benz on my wrist,” showcase his lyrical prowess.
While much of the album leans towards a melodic sound, Pop Smoke shines brightest when he dives head-first into nasty drill bangers. “Gangstas” is a perfect example of this, fusing old-school and new-school styles to create a track that you won’t be able to get out of your head.
If you’re looking for a track that’s fierce, bold, and unapologetic, look no further than Pop Smoke’s “Invincible”. This song, the first track off of ‘Meet the Woo 2’, blends a violin sample with a nasty drill beat to create a sonic experience that’s truly unforgettable. In many ways, it’s similar to his hit song “Dior”.
The title of the song says it all: Pop Smoke feels “Invincible”. As he walks through Brooklyn, he’s filled with a sense of unstoppable power that comes from his sudden fame, money, and women. Of course, this feeling is also fueled by his use of drugs, which he references in the opening lines of the song.
Despite the darkness that drugs bring to his daily life, Pop Smoke uses “Invincible” to celebrate his wild lifestyle and all the pleasures that come with it. This two-minute track is perfect for blasting on a set of loud speakers at a house party, and it’s just one more menacing banger in Pop Smoke’s discography.
So, if you’re ready to feel invincible yourself, give this track a listen and let Pop Smoke take you on a wild ride through his world of money, women, and power.
3. What You Know Bout Love
Pop Smoke, a product of the 90s R&B era, ventured into the R&B sound with “What You Know Bout Love”. Unlike his usual violent or power-based lyrics, this track speaks about his admiration for his lover and his desire to please her.
Although he has been criticized in the past for his one-dimensional flow patterns, “What You Know Bout Love” showcases his vocal talents with sincere lyricism and soft production that complement each other well. The heartfelt chorus, accompanied by twinkling synths, is a testament to this.
Despite the deviation from his traditional songwriting, the track still managed to climb to number nine on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, becoming Pop Smoke’s second top-10 single. It also solidified his unique style as a rapper.
This track is perfect for a backyard BBQ or a summer drive with the windows down. If you’re looking for a refreshing departure from Pop Smoke’s usual style, give “What You Know Bout Love” a listen.
2. Got It On Me
If you’re a fan of Pop Smoke’s “Shoot for the Moon, Aim for the Stars” album, you definitely know “Got It On Me”. It’s one of the biggest tracks from the album and for good reason. The song features killer flows and impressive vocal lines that will keep you hooked from start to finish.
Pop Smoke pays direct tribute to 50 Cent’s classic hook from “Many Men” by interpolating it into “Got It On Me”. And let’s just say, he more than does the original hook justice with his signature growling voice. There’s a definite DMX influence to the track’s uncompromising energy, which makes it stand out even more.
The production is also on point with a sampled choir making its way into the track, adding a triumphant yet eerie feel to the song. Interestingly, “Got It On Me” had been sitting in Pop Smoke’s vault for over 2 years before its release. When 50 Cent heard the song, he was shocked and impressed, which led to the two meeting up for future collaborations.
The sole producer of the track, “Young Devante”, revealed that the beat was initially created with Meek Mill’s style in mind. However, Pop Smoke made the song his own with his unique style and lyrics. In fact, “Got It On Me” is one of his more lyrically complex songs, with Pop Smoke pleading for mercy and taunting his enemies simultaneously.
All in all, “Got It On Me” is a killer track that showcases Pop Smoke’s incredible talent and pays homage to 50 Cent’s classic hook. It’s definitely a must-listen for any hip-hop fan out there.
Let’s talk about Pop Smoke’s collaboration with Lil Tjay. While some of Pop Smoke’s collaborations may have been hit or miss, whenever he teamed up with Lil Tjay, you could expect nothing short of fireworks. In this track, they both rap about intimidating people on the streets of New York.
What makes this track stand out is how they blend Smoke’s croaky rhymes with Lil Tjay’s humming. Their contrasting voices make the song sound frenzied and energetic. Originally released in 2019, this track was later added as a bonus cut on ‘Meet the Woo 2’.
But that’s not all. The music video for this track is eye-catching and downright fun! It features Smoke and Tjay waltzing around a grand mansion, as well as riding motorcycles on the streets of New York. All in all, this collaboration is a must-listen, and the video is a must-see!