How Did Pop Smoke Die? Rising Rap Star Killed At 20 In A Home Invasion Gone Wrong

Rest in peace, Pop Smoke.

How Did Pop Smoke Die? Rising Rap Star Killed At 20 In A Home Invasion Gone Wrong Getty Images

Bashar Barakah Jackson, known professionally as Pop Smoke, was a rapper that seemed to have everything going for him. At just 20 years old, he pioneered the sound known as "New York drill," whose origins trace back to the British style of rap music known as "drill," though its New York counterpart is much more melodic. His sound, however, was considered the "voice of a movement."

But before he had a chance to break into the mainstream, he died at the young age of 20 in the Hollywood Hills, overlooking Los Angeles, CA.


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How did Pop Smoke die? Let's look at what we know about the fallen rapper, who was taken far too soon. 

1. How did Pop Smoke die? He was killed in a home invasion gone wrong. 

On February 19, 2020, at approximately 4:30 a.m. PT, Pop Smoke was in his rented home in the Hollywood Hills when two men wearing masks and hoodies broke in. The men, who were armed, fired multiple shots, which fatally wounded the rising star. The men then fled on foot and as of this writing, they remain unidentified and at large. 



 at 12:52am PST

2. The rented home was owned by a Real Housewife. 

Shortly after it was revealed that Pop Smoke was killed in the Hollywood Hills, it was revealed that the rapper was renting a home owned by Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Teddi Jo Mellencamp and her husband, Edward Arroyave. The home, which was reportedly being used as an Airbnb, is located at the intersection of Laurel Canyon and Hollywood Blvd.

3. Pop Smoke sent out tweets just three hours before he was killed. 

Pop Smoke seemed to be enjoying his time in the spotlight, as evidenced by the tweet he sent out just three hours before he was shot and killed. He laughed at a meme, and sent star emojis to a dancer who seemed to be enjoying Pop Smoke's latest song.


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4. He was enjoying the success of his recently released album.

Just one month before Pop Smoke was shot and killed in the Hollywood Hills, he dropped a new album which was getting a lot of heat in the hip hop world. The album, called Meet The Woo 2, was a follow-up to his debut mixtape, Meet the Woo, which featured his breakout single, "Welcome to the Party," which you can hear above. Meet the Woo 2 featured guest appearances by Quavo (from Migos), A Boogie wit da Hoodie, and Lil Tjay, to name a few. Meet The Woo 2 debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 list.

5. Pop Smoke had legal troubles.

On January 17, 2020, it was revealed a Federal Grand Jury had moved to indict Pop Smoke on the grounds of transporting a stolen vehicle across state lines. According to the indictment, Pop Smoke transported a stolen Rolls-Royce Wraith (retailing up to $300,000) from California to New York. Pop Smoke reportedly borrowed the car for a music video, on the grounds that he would return it the next day. When he failed to return it, the owner of the vehicle reported it stolen, and Pop Smoke was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. In what was perhaps the most bizarre twist of all, Pop Smoke posted a photo of himself with the stolen vehicle on his official Facebook page.

6. Tributes to Pop Smoke started pouring in from all over the hip hop world.

It didn't take long for news of Pop Smoke's death to go viral and pretty soon, tributes to the fallen rapper started pouring in from all over the hip hop world. "You were the leader of a movement — your impact will never be forgotten," tweeted Spotify. "RIP Pop Smoke. Stop robbing and killing people because you can't put in your own grind," tweeted Benjamin Enfield of the Academy of Music Business. And G-Unit rapper Lloyd Banks summed it up best with just one sentence: "RIP Pop Smoke.


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Our thoughts are with Pop Smoke's family and friends during this difficult time. 

Bernadette Giacomazzo is an editor, writer, publicist, and photographer whose work has appeared in Teen Vogue, People, Us Weekly, The Source, XXL, HipHopDX, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post,, and more.