The 20-year-old Brooklyn rapper Bashar “Pop Smoke” Jackson was killed on Feb. 19 in the Hollywood Hills in what appeared to be a home invasion-robbery.
Jackson’s songs include “Welcome to the Party,” which was on Pitchfork’s list of Best Rap Songs of 2019, and “Gatti,” which appeared on Cactus Jack Records’ debut album “JackBoys.”
Students shared their favorite tracks from the late rapper, who some found to be a fresh face in the genre.
“I thought his most recent album, ‘Meet the Woo 2,’ was really good,” Jimmy Bedoya, a senior business and marketing major, said. “I like ‘Christopher Walking’ and ‘Element’ a lot.”
Iyanna Fairfax, a sophomore diplomacy and international relations and journalism double major, said she enjoyed listening to “Christopher Walking” and any song featuring Lil Tjay.
“[My favorite] definitely is ‘Scenario’ of his tape ‘Meet the Woo,’” Nathaniel Aiken, a junior business finance major, said.
Jackson, who was born in 1999, held a special place in students’ hearts not only because of his music, but also because of his proximity in age. Students were asked if they believed Jackson’s death was more tragic due to his passing at only 20 years old.
“I think so; I’m only 19 years old, and I like to think I have a ton of life left to live,” Patrick Cowger, a freshman pre-business major, said. “The fact that his was cut so short over something so dumb does make it sadder.”
“Yes, only because we’re all about that age,” Fairfax said. “We’re all trying to make it to where Pop Smoke was.”
In light of recent events, students shared their thoughts on tabloids releasing tragic news before speaking to celebrities’ immediate families.
Students criticized TMZ after releasing the news of Kobe Bryant’s death before his wife and family knew of the situation. Some are taking action by signing petitions to get advertisers to drop TMZ until they reconstruct their policy to consult families about the deaths of celebrities before stories reach the news.
“The first people to know about any crime is the police,” Fairfax said. “They need to be more mindful of who they share information with and be more discreet when dealing with those who are famous.”
“I think it’s sickening that they let the media know before [they let] families know,” Cowger said.
With the deaths of fellow musicians Nipsey Hussle and Juice Wrld, basketball legend Kobe Bryant and Hollywood stars John Singleton and John Witherspoon all occurring within the past year, students spoke on how these deaths have affected their perspectives on life.
“I think it has taught me to be a little more cautious,” Aiken said. “I’ve lost people suddenly, and it makes me more appreciative of life and makes me not want to take anything for granted.”
“What is so significant about these deaths is that they were so consecutive,” Bedoya said. “They have affected society’s outlook on life and helps everyone understand that life is short, and you need to go get whatever it is you want in life.”
Jorie Mickens can be reached at email@example.com.