Pop Smoke - Digital Art Painting

Personal, 2020

Bashar Barakah Jackson, known as Pop Smoke, was an American rapper, songwriter, singer, and actor who grew up in Brooklyn, NY. He was considered by many to be the face of Brooklyn drill music. Pop Smoke rose to fame with the release of his breakout singles "Welcome to the Party" and "Dior" in 2019.

He often collaborated with UK drill artists and producers, who employed more minimal and aggressive instrumentation than drill artists from Chicago. On February 19, 2020, he was sadly murdered in his home in California after he accidentally showed exposed his address on social media.

He was also known for his popular mixtapes like Meet the Woo and Meet the Woo 2. On 03 July 2020, his album titled Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon was released, to pay a tribute to him after four months after his death.

The Back Story

During the rise of Pop Smoke, I took a break from rap music and was listening to 90's & early 200's RnB more. During my whereabouts in Brooklyn, I constantly would hear Pop Smoke's "Welcome To The Party" & "Dior" songs.

I was intrigued and grew to love his craft while Brooklyn saturated his music in the streets and in restaurants. I loved his style, how he motivated others, his similarities to rapper 50 cent, and creating a new flavor to Brooklyn rap and hip hop in general. You knew he had star presence and was highly influencial wherever he went; he was special.

Shortly after, I learned he was murdered in Los Angeles, which was a place where many rappers like Nipsey Hussle, Notorius B.I.G, & PnB Rock, were murdered. I was so devestated and hurt, I needed an outlet and a way to pay homage to Pop Smoke.

The Outcome

I decided to challenge myself and was emotional creating this digital art painting, that I spent almost 20 hours on it, making it the most realistic portrait I ever made at the time. I added a variety of shading, highlighting, and textures to this painting, depicting Pop Smoke wearing his blue fur coat and wearing his signature braids. Creating and sharing this with other fans online was like a breathe of fresh air, we had something to keep as sentimental value to keep him in our memories.