When rapper Pop Smoke was tragically killed earlier this year, his idol 50 Cent made a promise. 50 Cent stated that he would oversee the production and release the music Pop Smoke was working on, in order to continue his legacy and also give the proceeds to his family. This past Friday, he made good on his promise and release Pop Smoke’s posthumous album, Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon.
For years musicians have complained about the difficulty of clearing samples of music in order to release their own. 50 Cent displays his love for Pop Smoke by using several of his own hit songs as samples for him. In a lot of ways, the album is an homage or reflection of 50 Cent’s own classic album, Get Rich or Die Tryin’. The titles of both albums even echo the same sentiments and 50 Cent even recently made a comparison of his own.
Aside from the allowances 50 Cent made concerning his beats, he insured this album would be a hit. He used his influence to call on some huge names to feature on the album like Quavo, Da Baby, Lil Baby, Swae Lee, Rowdy Rebel, Lil Tray, King Combs, and more. This album is Pop Smoke’s most diverse display of his talent. He’s always had a unique sound, but before it seemed to be focused on “gangsta rap” or “trap.” On this album, he plays around the genre.
He has a couple of memorable R&B songs on this album that sound amazing. Personally, I’m not a fan of the posthumous album. I feel like a lot of the time the end result is just a bunch of throwaway songs or snippets of what could have been before the artist’s death. However, this album changed that for me. It is very apparent how much work was put into all aspects of this album.
This was displayed just the other day when Virgil Abloh, creative director of Louis Vuitton, was announced as the artist for Pop Smokes cover art and almost instantly his designs were met with criticism. This led 50 Cent to having an online competition to find new artwork for the album. Ultimately, the project came together nicely and I expect it to do very well. It leaves you with a kind of somber feeling, because you can clearly see that Pop Smoke was on the verge of being a huge rap star. Hopefully the album brings some closure to his family, friends and fans.