Pop Smoke dead
A police officer guards outside a Hollywood Hills home where a fatal shooting occurred on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu) Image Credit: AP

Los Angeles: An up-and-coming rapper known as Pop Smoke was fatally shot during a break-in early Wednesday at a Hollywood Hills home, his label said.

"We are devastated by the unexpected and tragic loss of Pop Smoke,'' Republic Records said in a statement. ``Our prayers and thoughts go out to his family, friends and fans, as we mourn this loss together.''

Los Angeles police did not immediately confirm the identification.

Police officers found the victim shortly before 5 a.m. after responding to a 911 call from someone who reported intruders including one armed with a handgun were breaking in, said Capt. Steve Lurie, commanding officer of the LAPD's Hollywood Division.

Public listings show that the home is owned by Edwin Arroyave and his wife Teddi Mellencamp, daughter of singer John Mellencamp and star of "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.''

In an Instagram post Wednesday morning, Teddi Mellencamp said "we were informed by a 3rd party leasing and management company overseeing a rental home we own in Los Angeles that a shooting had taken place at the property. Foremost, we would like to extend our prayers and condolences to the family and loved ones affected by this tragic loss of life.''

Mellencamp said she and her husband were not aware of any further details beyond what they have learned through media reports.

Reactions, about him

Police said the 911 call came from "back East'' and reported the break-in was occurring at a friend's home. The victim was pronounced dead at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Several people who were in the house were detained and then released, Lurie said. Pop Smoke's legal name was Bashar Barakah Jackson. He was 20.

Chance The Rapper said in a tweet: "Rest Up Pop Smoke, you were too young. God Bless and comfort your family."

From Brooklyn, New York, Pop Smoke came onto the rap scene in 2018 and broke out last spring with "Welcome to the Party'' a gangsta anthem where he brags about shootings, killings and drugs. It was a huge sensation that even drew the attention of Nicki Minaj, who dropped her own verse on a successful remix of the song.

Earlier this month he released the album "Meet the Woo 2,'' which debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart. It was the follow up to his first official release,'' Meet the Woo,'' last July. He also had the popular hit "Gatti'' with Travis Scott and Jackboys and ``Dior.''

In an article that ran on Rolling Stone's website last week, Pop Smoke said that his lyrical style was more of a freestyle.

"I never wrote (down) anything,'' he told Rolling Stone. ``It's all up my head. Everything that I be writing, everything that I be saying, when it comes to these types of songs, just be so natural. Just how I be feeling. However, some songs I do write, and you'll know the ones that I write, 'cause you'll feel it.. I used to write poetry and all that crazy (expletive). Spoken word.''

Pop Smoke named fellow New York rapper 50 Cent as one of his influences and on Twitter, the multiplatinum entertainer memorialized him: "R.I.P to my man Pop Smoke, No sympathy for winners. God bless him.''

Minaj also posted her sympathies with a photo of Pop Smoke on her Instagram. "The Bible tells us that jealousy is as cruel as the grave. Unbelievable. Rest In Peace, Pop,'' she wrote.

Facts about Pop Smoke

Here are a few facts about the "Welcome to the Party" mastermind, who was killed at age 20.

Pop Smoke was an up-and-coming star in Brooklyn's drill rap scene. His debut mixtape, "Meet the Woo," came out last July, and "Meet the Woo, Vol. 2" debuted this week in the top 10 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. "Dior" and a "Welcome to the Party" remix that featured Nicki Minaj both made it into the top 50 on Billboard's list of hot R&B/hip-hop songs. "Gatti," which featured Pop Smoke along with Travis Scott, broke the top 35 on that chart last month.

He played the 2019 Rolling Loud festival in Los Angeles in December, along with Lil Uzi Vert and Playboi Carter. "What Rolling Loud, now in its third year as a traveling event, represents is the shock of the new: noise over order, charisma over lucidity, bad vibes over good. ....," The Times' Mikael Wood wrote. "You saw it in 20-year-old Pop Smoke, rapping in his throaty bellow over a wobbling bass line that sounded close to collapse."

He was one of five rappers the NYPD asked Rolling Loud to lose from its New York lineup. Pop Smoke, 22Gz, Casanova, Sheff G and Don Q were called out in a police letter to organizers as being "affiliated with recent acts of violence citywide" and therefore, the letter claimed, likely to increase the risk of violence during the event, the New York Times reported in October. Organizers complied with that request.

Pop Smoke and his crew were aware that their lifestyle brought risks. "On the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway ... he and his crew engaged in what can only be described as defensive driving formations: rotating order, intermittently speeding up and slowing down, blocking other cars from their path," the New York Times wrote last fall. "It was the type of behavior exhibited by those who are mindful that something unexpectedly awful could happen at any moment."

He was about to go out on a months-long international tour. Pop Smoke had two shows set for next month at the Roxy in West Hollywood, plus one at the Constellation Room in Santa Ana, as part of a 40-plus-date tour that would have taken him across the U.S. Also on tap were shows in the U.K., Ireland, France, Belgium and Portugal.

He was free on $250,000 bail after being arrested last month in New York on suspicion of stealing a Rolls-Royce that he had borrowed overnight for a music video shoot in L.A. Jackson was charged with a federal crime, interstate transportation of a stolen vehicle, after he allegedly arranged for the car to be shipped cross-country on a flatbed truck. He had posted a shot of himself with the $375,000 car on social media. It was found parked in front of Jackson's mother's Brooklyn home with its plates changed and windows tinted. Previously he took part in a diversion program for first-time offenders, likely related to weapons possession.

Pop Smoke was killed Wednesday by masked gunmen in a Hollywood Hills home invasion. A person calling from the East Coast told authorities that several suspects had entered their friend's home shortly before 5 a.m. Police responding to the call found the 20-year-old rapper in the house with gunshot wounds. "The Bible tells us that jealousy is as cruel as the grave," Minaj wrote Wednesday on Instagram. "Unbelievable. Rest In Peace, Pop."