Pop Smoke continues to hit career milestones after his tragic 2020 death. The rapper earned his second posthumous No. 1 album with Faith released on July 16. The album features Dua Lipa, Chris Brown, Future, Pusha T, Kanye West, 21 Savage, Pharrell Williams, and more. A deluxe version of the album was issued on July 20 adding four new songs to the 20-track LP.
According to Billboard, Pop Smoke’s Faith debuted in the top spot on the Billboard 200 chart with 88,000 equivalent album units earned in the U.S. in the week ending July 22. This breaks down to 83,000 SEA units or 13.34 million on-demand streams of the record’s tracks, as well as 4,000 album sales and 1,000 TEA units. The Brooklyn rapper’s first posthumous album, Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon, released July 3, 2020, also reached the top spot. Pop Smoke’s mixtapes Meet the Woo, V.1 (July 2019) and Meet the Woo, V.2 (Feb. 2020) reached No. 105 and No. 7 respectively.
Shoot For The Stars Aim For The Moon is also in this week’s Top 10 at No. 9, moving up from the No. 11 spot according to Billboard.
In a November 2020 interview with GQ, Steven Victor, manager of the late “Dior” rapper, opened up about Pop Smoke’s palpable gravitas upon first meeting the young Brooklyn native. “When I met him, I immediately knew he was a superstar. I thought he was talented by the music he played, but more than that, I just saw something in his eyes. He was super determined. It wasn’t just the usual star quality. It wasn’t like he walked into a room and you’re like, ‘who’s this guy.’ I met Pop as a favor to his manager, Rico, who was a close friend of mine. I didn’t even do the meeting at my office; I did it in Rico’s office, because my plan was to go in for five minutes and leave. I ended up staying and speaking to Pop for hours.”
As VIBE previously reported, Victor teased the release of Faith on social media prior to the album dropping. Promotional flyers for the project were also plastered across New York City. Despite its success, some have criticized the manager for the record’s release. According to Hot New Hip Hop, Pop Smoke’s close friend Mike Dee and producer 808Melo both spoke out about the album.
“For anybody saying why did I let anybody drop this or that. I had no involvement in my dawgz album didn’t even kno a album was dropping until it got broadcasted on this internet s**t I’m upset my damn self at it cuss I know he wouldn’t even want this like this,” Dee wrote on his Instagram story according to the outlet.
Pop Smoke was shot and killed on Feb. 19, 2020, after intruders broke into his rental residence in the Hollywood Hills. VIBE reported in July 2020, five people, including two teenagers, were arrested for their involvement in the murder. The adults arrested were identified as Corey Walker, 19, Jaquan Murphy, 21, and Keandre D. Rodgers, 18. According to NBC Palm Springs, the district attorney is not seeking the death penalty against Walker.