After months of speculation surrounding the release of a second posthumous album from late Brooklyn rapper Pop Smoke, new developments have ramped up in anticipation of the project.
It has been confirmed that a new album is officially slated for July 16. Promotional flyers featuring an image of Pop Smoke and the album’s release date have begun to emerge in the streets of New York City, with the first sightings reported via social media on July 5. The official pre-order link for the album went live this past weekend.
While information regarding guest appearances and production credits has yet to be revealed, the album—which is due almost one year to the date of Pop Smoke’s posthumous debut, Shoot for the Moon, Aim for the Stars—is being spearheaded by Steven Victor, who signed the Canarsie, Brooklyn rep to his Victor Victor label prior to his death, as well Pop’s manager, producer Rico Beats. First alluding to a new Pop Smoke album via a cryptic Instagram post this past May, Rico Beats’ revelation was followed by an official announcement by Steven Victor on June 23, with Victor uploading a clip featuring commentary from Pop Smoke to his own IG page, simply captioned, “July 16.”
In the 35-second short, Pop Smoke can be heard dropping uplifting motivational gems amid various clips of the rapper prior to his death. “I always knew I was gonna be something great,” he begins, adding, “I feel like it’s coming back to New York,” in light of the city’s reemergence as a hotbed for rap talent. “When you keep winning, they can’t stop you,” he says. “The fake can never succeed in nothing. When you know what you want, don’t let nobody get in between you and your creation.” He ends his message by voicing his desire to not only be a celebrity or public figure but to stamp himself as one of the best to ever do it, concluding, “Boy, I ain’t trying to just be cool, we gotta make history.”
While Pop Smoke’s death was one of the most tragic moments in hip-hop in recent memory, his spirit has remained alive and well, with his posthumous debut album, Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon, which dropped July 3, 2020, topping the Billboard 200 and earning the late rapper various 2021 Billboard Music Awards, including trophies for Top Rap Artist, Top Male Rap Artist, Top Billboard 200 Album, and Top Rap Album. He has also appeared on various albums over the past month, including the Migos’ Culture III, Polo G’s Hall of Fame, and the F9 film soundtrack.