Up-and-coming rapper and leader in the Brooklyn drill movement, Pop Smoke, was killed Wednesday morning, his record label confirmed to the New York Times. The rapper, born Bashar Jackson, was in a Hollywood Hills home owned by Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Teddi Mellencamp Arroyave and her husband around 4:30 a.m. when an unknown number of men reportedly wearing masks and hoodies broke into the house. Per the Times, the men shot and critically wounded Pop Smoke. He was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead a few hours later, according to a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Police Department. The suspects have not been caught or identified. It’s unclear if Pop Smoke knew who they were. He was 20 years old.
“We are devastated by the unexpected and tragic loss of Pop Smoke,” Joseph Carozza, an executive vice-president at Republic Records, said. “Our prayers and thoughts go out to his family, friends, and fans as we mourn this loss together.”
Teddi Mellencamp extended her condolences on Instagram, confirming that the incident took place at her home. “Early this am we were informed by a 3rd party leasing and management company overseeing a rental home we own in Los Angeles that a shooting had taken place at the property,” she wrote in the caption. “Foremost, we would like to extend our prayers and condolences to the family and loved ones affected by this tragic loss of life.”
Pop Smoke’s hit “Welcome to the Party,” from his debut album Meet the Woo, achieved major success and was remixed twice with Nicki Minaj and grime artist Skepta. The Canarsie, Brooklyn native was one of the rappers on the forefront of the Brooklyn drill movement, a new version of the Chicago and London drill styles that came before it. His collaborations with U.K.-based producer 808Melo have earned praise from Nicki Minaj, Rico Nasty, and many more. Love from his collaborators, fans, and friends has already starting pouring in on social media.
Pop Smoke’s childhood friend, who was photographed with the rapper hours before his death, has spoken out on Instagram denying any foul play on his part. Mike Dee writes, “YALL DONT KNO WHATS GOING ON YALL COME ON HERE PLAYING INVESTIGATOR AND BASHING ME ON THE INTERNET, I WOULD NEVER IN MY LIFE SET MY BROTHER UP … JUST KNO I GOT YOU FOREVER BROTHER THE TRUTH WILL COME TO LIGHT UNTIL THEN SLEEP IN PEACE.” His defense refers to an Instagram photo with Pop Smoke taken outside of the Mellencamp residence in which the house number is partially visible; Dee has since deleted that and all other Instagram posts. Speculation that Pop Smoke’s murder was the result of a setup has not been confirmed.
This is a breaking news post and will be updated accordingly.