How Pop Smoke’s Mom Is Honoring His Legacy

By the age of 20 years old, late rapper Pop Smoke (born Bashar Barakah Jackson) lived out the dreams of the average New York City teenager. By his sophomore year of his rap career, Pop Smoke became considered the mainstream face of Brooklyn’s drill music scene, a subgenre of the Chicago style that has become globally popular. Pop rose to mainstream fame after releasing his hit single “Welcome To The Party” in 2019. In July 2019, the rapper released his debut Meet The Woo mixtape, featuring his successful single “Dior,” per Pitchfork.

As Pop Smoke rose to fame, he managed to join forces with fellow rappers such as Nicki Minaj, French Montana, and Skepta for remixes to his popular hits, per his interview with WHBC 96.3 HD3. The late rapper’s career built momentum, as the previous XXL Freshman Class member released his second mixtape, Meet The Woo 2, in early February 2020. 

Two weeks after the sophomore project’s release, Pop Smoke died of gunshot wounds during an invasion in his Hollywood Hills rental home on Feb. 19, 2020. He was only 20 years old. The rapper has posthumously become a superstar in the music industry, as well as a role model in his hometown of Canarsie, Brooklyn. Thanks to his mother, the rapper’s charitable efforts continue to impact the lives of many. Keep scrolling to find out how Pop Smoke’s mom is honoring his legacy.

Pop Smoke's mom Audrey Jackson is working on an anti-gun violence initiative

Pop Smoke continues to impact the drill scene across the globe after his tragic death. The rapper’s posthumous debut studio album, Shoot For The Stars, Aim For The Moon, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Additionally, Pop Smoke was posthumously nominated for a Grammy Award in the “Best Rap Performance” category and will make his acting debut in the basketball film Boogie. And in his community, his mother Audrey Jackson continues his work.

In an interview on the one-year anniversary of the rapper’s death, Jackson joined New York mayoral candidate Eric Adams to discuss the importance of honoring her son’s legacy with an anti-gun violence initiative. “Gun violence has become the new slave owner,” Adams told The Breakfast Club (via Complex). “When we saw Black men disappear from the continent of Africa and we were wondering where they were going… Gun violence is becoming the new belly of the slave ship. Too many young Black men we are losing and we need to turn this around.

As for Jackson, who is an active participant of the late rapper’s Shoot For The Stars Foundation, she says the grieving process hasn’t been the easiest. When asked about hearing Pop Smoke’s music, she responded, “It hurts. And I’m gonna tell you guys, I don’t [listen] unless I have to. I can’t listen, even in my car… Any kind of music. Because that was our connection, that was our thing. … We danced together, we sang together.”

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