This is the sophomore album from New York rapper, singer & songwriter Pop Smoke. Emerging in the summer of 2019 off his debut EP Meet the Woo, things were looking like the Brooklyn drill pioneer was just about to take off until he was tragically murdered in a home invasion less than 2 weeks after Meet the Woo 2 dropped last February. Pop’s full-length debut Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon was later completed by the hands of his idol 50 Cent & just celebrated it’s 1-year anniversary at the beginning of the month. As for the actual music on that album: I personally was indifferent towards it because as much as I adore 50’s output both solo & with G-Unit from 2002-2006, he made it sound a lot more commercial than it really needed to be. So to see he had no involvement with Faith gave me hope that I’d like it more than Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon.
After the “Good News” intro, the first song “More Time” is an endearing piano ballad produced by 808Melo about how that’s all he needs whereas “Tell the Vision” with Pusha T finds the duo boasting their success on top of a guitar & some hi-hats. I also dig how Push acknowledges Call Me If You Get Lost as the 2021 AOTY so far as well as teasing his upcoming album & calling someone who I refuse to acknowledge on my platform a clown without sounding like beating a dead horse. He & Rick Ross get murderous on the soulful “Manslaughter” leading into the acoustic materialism anthem “‘Bout a Million” with 21 Savage & 42 Dugg.
Meanwhile on “Brush ‘Em”, we have Rah Swish tagging along over a chilling sample to spit that gangsta shit just before the triumphant “Top Shotta” featuring Pusha T & TRAVI along with The Neptunes behind the boards. Bizzar Banks comes into the picture to talk about being sleazes on the cinematically produced “30” while the spacious “Beat the Speaker” grimly talks about Pop being the man. “Coupe” has a nocturnal instrumental whilst returning to the gangsta rap themes just before he & Takeoff talk about having a lot of guns for the cavernous “What’s Crackin’?”. The choir vocals on the Lil Tjay/Swae Lee assisted “Genius” are chilling as the trio are proclaiming themselves as such while he & Future talking about 100 bitches that’s ready to fuck.
After the pointless “Woo Baby” interlude, the actual “Woo Baby” song itself is an attempt at a radio hit saying he & Chris Brown like their yummy yellow whatever the fuck that’s supposed to mean while the moody Dua Lipa duet “Demeanor” finds the 2 talking about his shawty. “Spoiled” even though it’s 2 minutes long is what “Woo Baby” should’ve been while the song “8-Ball” with KiD CuDi serves as a guitar ballad produced by Swizz Beatz about robbin’ ‘cause they never had nothing. The penultimate track “Back Door” with Kodak Black & Quavo sees the trio lavishly looking back on what their mothers had told them growing up & the closer “Merci Beaucoup” beautiful tells listeners that he ain’t got shit to prove to nobody.
Now I like this a bit more than the previous Pop Smoke album, but just by a very small margin. Some of the features either hit or miss & I really appreciate how it doesn’t try as hard to appeal to a nonexistent radio market like Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon did.