Pop smoke was not the pioneer of the burgeoning hip-hop subgenre known as Brooklyn Drill music, but he’s definitely responsible for helping push the burgeoning brand of rap music into the mainstream. A by-product of the signature sound of United KingdomThe much more established drilling scene and Chicago drilling movement, the BK version flourished in part thanks to escape tracks like Popof “Welcome to the party” and “Dior” in 2019, both produced by British beatsmith 808Melo. The meteoric rise of the New York rapper, alongside Brooklyn drill charge in the foreground, has inspired a wave of Pop Smoke-like beats online.
Pop Smoke’s name is synonymous with drilling sound. The music is forged with bottomless 808s and rippling synths, on which the baritone-voiced Canarsie, Brooklyn, NY native thrived with his early mixtapes. Meet the Woo in 2019 and Meet the Woo 2 in 2020. These first projects for the rapper feature the aforementioned Brooklyn drill hymns. Pop’s must-have “Christopher Walking”, produced by beatmakers CashMoneyAP and Wondagurl, with its Charleston tap taps, pistol sounds and wavy chords, is a signature song. The intimidating standalone single “War” starring Lil Tjay is heavy with thrilling synths and airy rim shots, served by 808Melo and Swirv.
Yet most of Pop’s greatest records reside on his 2021 posthumous debut album, Shoot for the stars Aim for the moon, which is chock-full of big drill doses from some of the best sound providers in the genre, including 808Melo, AXL, and others. While the four-time platinum track “For the Night” with Lil Baby and DaBaby walks more on the side of the traps, thanks to producers CashMoneyAP and Palaze, the collection is staying the course with distinct firecrackers like “Aim for the Moon” with Quavo, produced by WondaGurl, 5ive Beatz, 808Melo, Tyy Beats, Dez Wright and Dani; and “44 BullDog”, produced by Mobz Beatz and Mora Beats.
Sadly, Pop hasn’t been able to take full advantage of the momentum he’s gained, with his death on February 19, 2020 turn off one of the the brightest stars in hip-hop. However, her posthumous debut album is proof that her sound was leading a movement. The project recently broke Eminem’s record for most weeks atop the Billboard Top Rap Albums chart, an impressive feat. His 2019 track “Dior” nominated for a 2021 Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance also. Now the Brooklyn Drill Sound lives on with artists like 22gz Pioneers, Sheff G, Fivio Foreign, Sleepy Hollow, Smoove’L, and others pushing the sound forward.
Even in death, the Brooklyn rapper’s wave has become a popular staple, with “Pop Smoke-type beats” becoming a trend that YouTube producers have recently taken full advantage of. Lose yourself in several Pop Smoke type beats below.
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