20-Year-Old Rapper Pop Smoke Killed in Hollywood Hills Home

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A 20-year-old up-and-coming rapper from New York was fatally shot at a Hollywood Hills home early Wednesday, authorities and his record label said.

At a news conference, the Los Angeles Police Department said it could not confirm the male victim's identity, but law enforcement sources identified him to the Los Angeles Times and CNN as Bashar Barakah Jackson, a New York rapper known as Pop Smoke.

The artist's label, Republic Records, also confirmed his death on social media.

Pop Smoke attends the Louis Vuitton Menswear Fall/Winter 2020-2021 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on Jan. 16, 2020 in Paris, France. (Credit: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
Pop Smoke attends the Louis Vuitton Menswear Fall/Winter 2020-2021 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on Jan. 16, 2020 in Paris, France. (Credit: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

According to LAPD, officials responded to a residence at 2033 Hercules Drive just before 5 a.m. after receiving a call about multiple people unlawfully entering the home.

That caller was not at the property at the time but reported that their friend was at the home and witnessed the break-in. At least one person had a handgun, witnesses told authorities.

Officers arrived at the location about six minutes later and discovered a man who had been shot, LAPD Capt. Steve Lurie said at Wednesday's news conference.

Fire personnel responded and transported the victim to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead, Lurie said.

The captain only described the victim to be between 20 and 30 years old.

Several people witnessed the crime, according to LAPD. The number of intruders has been reported to be anywhere from two to six, Lurie told reporters. At least one of them was wearing a black mask, the officer added.

Lurie said he could not confirm who owned the home, or whether or not it was being rented out through Airbnb, as reported by some media outlets.

No arrests have been made, and the motive remains unclear.

LAPD Capt. Jonathan Tippet told the L.A. Times that he was not comfortable calling the incident a robbery, and that cameras in the neighborhood may provide some clues.

Sources told the paper that investigators believe the killing may have been gang-related, as Pop Smoke is considered to be connected with the Crips street gang. They are aware that the rapper may have shared his location in Hollywood Hills on social media, according to the L.A. Times.

Authorities provided no further information about the incident.

Artists mourn Pop Smoke and his rising career

Many artists expressed their condolences on social media following news of Pop Smoke's unexpected death.

The 20-year-old was part of Brooklyn's drill scene, popularized by Sheff G, who grew up listening to Chicago drill pioneers Chief Keef and G Herbo.

The rapper had just begun making a name for himself in the summer, with the release of his debut mixtape, "Meet the Woo," featuring the trap-influenced anthem, "Welcome to the Party."

Artist 50 Cent  tweeted on Wednesday: "R.I.P to my man Pop Smoke, No sympathy for winners. 🕊God bless him."

"Rest Up Pop Smoke, you were too young," Chance the Rapper said on Twitter. "God Bless and comfort your family. What a crazy trajectory you were on man smh 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾"

On Instagram, Nicki Minaj said: "The Bible tells us that jealousy is as cruel as the grave. Unbelievable. Rest In Peace, Pop."

The video for "Welcome to the Party" has been viewed more than 24 million on YouTube, and hip-hop stars Minaj and Meek Mill dropped remixes.

"My face, my voice was everywhere, you know what I'm saying?" Pop told i-D magazine in a December interview. "I knew it was gonna be big when I started seeing my face on billboards."

The magazine titled its piece, "Is Pop Smoke the new king of New York?" -- a title generally reserved for the likes of Nas, Jay-Z and The Notorious B.I.G.

The Brooklyn-born rhymesmith had since collaborated with the likes of Quavo, Travis Scott, H.E.R., A Boogie Wit da Hoodie and Chris Brown.

Speaking to Pop's rapid ascent in the rap game, his second mixtape, "Meet the Woo 2," debuted last week at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 album charts. Joining him in the top 10 were Roddy Ricch, Post Malone, Lil Wayne and Billie Eilish.

Pop's "Meet the Woo" tour was scheduled to kick off with a sold-out show in Washington, D.C. on March 2.

In a 2019 New York Times profile, the artist talked about his life before he found fame in the music industry. His teen years were described as "high-risk, high-reward."

"You like nice things, you got to do things to get nice things," he said. "At 16, I had a 5 Series (BMW)."

Last month, Pop was returning from Europe when he was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on a charge of interstate transport of a stolen vehicle.

He was accused of transporting a Rolls Royce Wraith across state lines "knowing said motor vehicle to have been stolen," according to a federal indictment. He pleaded not guilty during his arraignment in Brooklyn and was released on $250,000 bail, said John Marzulli, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District.

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