Up-and-coming rapper Pop Smoke was shot and killed in the Hollywood Hills area of California early Wednesday morning. And while the Brooklyn rapper’s friends, family and peers are mourning his senseless and untimely death, many are questioning the motive behind his burgeoning career being cut short.
New reports are suggesting that Pop Smoke’s killing was not a robbery gone wrong. Instead, it was a targeted hit, TMZ reports. The 20-year-old was killed in a home invasion after four masked men allegedly broke into the home he was renting from “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Teddi Mellencamp and her husband, Edwin Arroyave, after holding a gathering at the property, according to a TMZ report. Two of the suspects reportedly fired multiple shots, which hit and critically wounded Pop Smoke. He was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he later died.
The men reportedly approached the home and snuck around the back of the property at around 4:30 a.m. Moments later, three of the four men are seen walking past the side of the home to the front. However, the fourth man appears to have walked in the back door of the rental property, but there was no camera surveillance. The fourth man is eventually seen exiting the home from the front door. TMZ suggests that per the surveillance footage, it is doubtful that the men were attempting to rob the rising rapper, as the fourth man was not seen leaving the home with anything from inside of the property.
Prior to the incident, the rapper showed off a few gifts he had received via social media, one of which had the home’s address printed on it. Additionally, he posted a picture on Instagram sitting in a car with a friend, who was holding a large stack of cash. The friend uploaded a separate photo, which appeared to show a portion of the home’s address as well.
Following Pop Smoke’s passing, his fellow rappers took to social media to emphasize the immeasurable amount of jealousy that comes with fame.
“The Bible tells us that jealousy is as cruel as the grave. Unbelievable. Rest In Peace, Pop,” Nicki Minaj wrote on Instagram while honoring the rapper in a post.
CEO and former co-founder of Murder Inc. Records, Irv Gotti, shared Nicki’s sentiments. “Wtf??? Why??? And he was bringing that energy back to NYC. 🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽 Only in Hip Hop. When you get Hot. You are a target. No other form of music has to deal with sh*t like this,” he wrote.
Atlanta rapper 2 Chainz shared a story of his own, stressing the importance of safety for rappers. “Been shot at in San Fran , got arrested in Maryland , La , New York and Oklahoma , had a so call stand off with police in Oklahoma , Cali spot got broken into 4 times alll on tape and one of them even left they phone. ALLL SINCE I BEEN A ‘RAPPER’ you literally gotta Pray 🙏🏿that you make it back home safe !! But then you not even safe at home..,” he wrote.
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Been shot at in San Fran , got arrested in Maryland , La , New York and Oklahoma , had a so call stand off with police in Oklahoma , Cali spot got broken into 4 times alll on tape and one of them even left they phone 😯😒ALLL SINCE I BEEN A “RAPPER” you literally gotta Pray 🙏🏿that you make it back home safe !! But then you not even safe at home.. 🙏🏿🙏🏿 my condolences
Ironically, Pop Smoke has also spoken on “being more careful” after becoming a public figure and amassing a certain level of fame and notoriety through his music. “N***as like us, coming where we come from, we can’t afford to f**k up,” he said during an interview with Angie Martinez. “We can’t afford to slip up, make no mistakes ‘cause they watching and they want us to. We got all odds against us, and fake n***as, they be winning sometimes. So, if you wanna succeed, you can’t f**k up. You got no space for it. We can’t afford it.”
Pop Smoke rose to infamy with his record “Welcome to the Party”, which was a summer hit off of his “Meet the Woo” mixtape, released in July. Following the record’s popularity, Nicki Minaj jumped on the record to do a remix. Pop Smoke also had songs with artists such as Travis Scott.
While it has not been confirmed who is responsible for Pop Smoke’s death, the assumption is that jealousy and envy was a motive in cutting the 20-year-old’s life short.
**This article has been updated to include a social media quote from Irv Gotti.**