Pop Smoke – “Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon” review

Pop Smoke was a 20 year old rapper from Brooklyn, New York who released his debut mixtape Meet the Woo last summer. He put out a sequel this past February but unfortunately, he was murdered 2 weeks after said-sequel came out. But with the help of 50 Cent, they’re continuing Pop’s legacy with his full-length debut.

The album kicks off with “Bad Bitch from Tokyo”, where Pop Smoke brags for 50 seconds over a woozy beat. The next song “Aim for the Moon” with Quavo sees the 2 talking about their high statuses over an instrumental that sounds like it could’ve been on Travis Scott’s ASTROWORLD while the track “For the Night” with Lil Baby & DaBaby finds the trio getting raunchy over a beat kin to Young Thug’s Beautiful Thugger Girls. The song “44 Bulldog” gets confrontational over a mournful beat while the track “Gangstas” talks about how legit he was over a rubbery piano instrumental.

The song “Yea Yea” is a trite, buttery sex anthem while the track “Creature” with Swae Lee sees the 2 describing their rich lifestyles over a spacious beat while the track “Snitching” with Future & Quavo is pretty much them talking about not breaking street code over a shimmery, skeletal instrumental. The song “Make It Rain” with Rowdy Rebel sees the 2 talking about fakes over an aggressive instrumental while “The Woo” with 50 Cent & Roddy Ricch sees the 3 talking about bitches over another Beautiful Thugger Girls inspired beat.

The song “West Coast Shit” with Tyga & Quavo lives up to its name down to Mustard’s production while the track “Enjoy Yourself” with Karol G is a weird, Latin-flavored piece about relaxation. The song “Mood Swings” with Lil Tjay is a horrific auto-crooner while the track “Something Special” is literally a 2 minute freestyle over Tamia’s “Into You”.

We have more tiresome lovey dovey shit on the songs “What You Know ‘Bout Love?” & the King Combs featured “Diana”, but then “Got It on Me” is pretty much a modern take on the classic 50 Cent joint “Many Men (Wish Death)” & it’s actually pretty cool. The final song “Tunnel Vision” talks about how nice he is over a mesmerizing instrumental & then we get “Dior” off Meet the Woo as a bonus track, which is easily one of the best songs he ever made.

I’m usually 50/50 on posthumous releases because they can either turn out amazing like Circles or end up horrendously like Pac’s Life. However, this kinda falls in between for me. The cuts that’re done more in Pop Smoke’s signature UK Drill style are fine, but almost all the poppy sex songs except for “Something Special” are just fucking terrible. If we’re getting a follow-up, here’s to it being better.

Score: 2.5/5

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