Country : Etats-Unis Label : Republic Genres and styles : Drill / Hip Hop / Trap Year : 2020

Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon

· by Félix Desjardins

With the wind in his sails, promoted by the biggest names in the industry, Pop Smoke aspired to restore the Brooklyn crest and reign over American rap. Fate would have it otherwise. He was murdered earlier this year by four burglars in his luxurious Los Angeles home. Planning to soon release his first studio album, the 20-year-old New York MC left his label with a large bundle of tracks. A few months later, this much-anticipated opus was released, not without pitfalls. First version of the cover rejected, a title criticized for its sappy connotations, a delayed release date, even the planets seemed to have united against Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon. Relying on the legendary 50 Cent as executive producer, the album manages to do justice to Pop Smoke’s impressive talent. However, this posthumous rap work is diluted by an overabundance of collaborations, sometimes repetitive, the whole becoming a rather homogeneous set of 19 tracks. A pioneer of drill, a subgenre of trap popularized in Chicago and New York, the late rapper shines with his sudden changes in flow and sung verses, without ever being robbed of the spotlight by the guest superstars. As long as its title, the album accumulates heavy sounds and hymns to epicureanism, Pop Smoke’s specialty. It would be a trap, however, to dwell only on the superficiality of the work, when it has become an important symbol for underprivileged New York youth. In reality, the major weaknesses of the album lie in the decisions made by the label, which unduly stretched the final product to make Pop Smoke’s demise as profitable as possible. A “deluxe” version is even already planned…

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