Born Bashar Barakah Jackson, the late rapper Pop Smoke’s music continues to break records, ensuring that the legacy of his body of work will endure long after his death.
His debut album, the posthumously released “Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon,” currently holds the record for longest weeks in the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s top rap albums chart, People reports. It will reach its 20th week at the top of Billboard’s chart on March 27.
With this achievement, Smoke has broken the record previously held by Eminem, whose seventh album “Recovery” was atop the charts for 19 weeks after its release on June 18, 2010.
“Shoot For The Stars, Aim For The Moon” is making history on other Billboard charts as well. The project has now tied Prince’s iconic “Purple Rain” album for consecutive weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, according to RapRadar. The tie is for 19 weeks, third-longest for the spot, behind MC Hammer’s “Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ’Em” at 29 weeks and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” at 37 weeks.
On Feb. 19, 2020, Smoke was shot and killed during an early morning home invasion at the Los Angeles-area mansion he was renting. The following July, it was announced that five individuals, including two teenagers, were charged with robbery and murder.
A year after his death, Smoke’s mother Audrey Jackson addressed the difficulty of witnessing her son’s success in an interview on “The Breakfast Club.”
“It’s very painful,” Jackson said. “He should be here with you … at ‘The Breakfast Club’ he would listen to you all every day. He sat in the kitchen at the table, played you all. This should have been his moment.”
Jackson added that she could no longer listen to her son’s music, because it hurt to no longer be able to share that experience with him
“Because that was our connection. That was our thing. We danced together, we sang together,” Jackson said. “Our relationship was around music in our household. … It is difficult, it really is painful, and it’s not getting easier, it’s getting harder.”
When asked if she had forgiven the two young adults charged with Smoke’s death, she said, “It’s neither place. They’ve done something and there should be some sort of repercussion for what they’ve done.
“But my brain goes to their households that have been disturbed. Mine has been damaged, but their moms and their dads, too, have had some stuff. It’s not about forgiveness per se, but just kind of understanding the dynamics of what’s going on.”
Jackson added that she attempts not to “operate out of a place of negativity or anger because it doesn’t serve any purpose.”
Jackson and her husband Greg Jackson currently operate and intend to develop further Pop Smoke’s Shoot for the Stars Foundation, a nonprofit conceived by the rapper that focuses on helping and motivating inner-city youth.