July 20, 2020 is the late Pop Smoke’s 21st birthday. On July 3, the Brooklyn MC‘s debut studio album, ‘Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon’ was released. The project received immediate praise from within the hip-hop community. It went on to sell 251,000 records the first week, which was the most first week sales for a posthumous album since Michael Jackson’s ‘Michael’ back in 2010. This major accomplishment was beat the very next week with the release of Juice WRLD’s ‘Legends Never Die’, which sold an astounding 508,000 records. Regardless of the records, Pop Smoke’s album speaks for itself. Now it is time for the highly anticipated deluxe version of ‘Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon’.
This deluxe version is fifteen tracks long, so the listeners are essentially getting a whole separate project. Some of these tracks have been previewed by Pop Smoke in the past, so his diehard fans are familiar with some of this newly released music. The first record is the 808Melo & Jess Jackson produced “Hotel Lobby”. It’s followed by back to back features from fellow New York drill rapper, Fivio Foreign for “Showin Off, Pt. 1” & “Showin Off, Pt. 2”. There were definitely some skeptical fans wondering why there weren’t more Brooklyn-Drill artists featured on the original album, so having Fivio satisfies a lot of listeners. “Iced Out Audemars” & “Woo Year” features DAFI Woo and Dread Woo, two rappers who were personal friends of Pop Smoke’s, and also fellow members of Brooklyn’s Woo gang. “Tsunami” featuring Davido & “She Feeling a Nice” featuring Jamie Foxx produced by WondaGurl, are both tracks with a tropical type sound, but Pop Smoke again flexes his versatility. Also, a Jamie Foxx and Pop Smoke collaboration is something we didn’t know we needed until now. On “Imperfections (Interlude)” Pop Smoke continues his salute to the early 2000s, which he did multiple times on the original album, and this time he puts his take on Mario’s 2004 hit “Let Me Love You”. “Paranoia” is produced by The Elements & 808Melo once again, and it features Atlanta superstars Young Thug & Gunna. The original track also features Pusha T, who is managed by Steven Victor, who also managed Pop Smoke. The Clipse rapper’s verse leaked to the internet, and included lines dissing his nemesis, Drake. After a brief feud between Pusha T and Young Thug on Instagram about the verse being on the album, Pusha requested that the verse be taken off. Regardless, the final version of the track is still exceptional. Pop Smoke claims the “King Of New York” title on “Hello” featuring A Boogie Wit a Hoodie. The two worked together on the track “Foreigner” on Meet The Woo 2, but A Boogie’s verse eventually became a meme. This time around that will not be the case, because the Highbridge rapper delivered. “Be Clearr” again displays Pop Smoke’s melodic song, the track is destined to be a hit. The final two tracks are remixes of songs that were on the original album. “Diana (Remix)” features King Combs, who was on the original, and a new verse from Calboy. King Combs’ verse was heavily criticized on social media, but Calboy’s verse makes up for it. On the “Enjoy Yourself (Remix)” Karol G is replaced with a verse from Burna Boy. This version was leaked a couple of weeks before the original album’s release.
While the original album was commercial-leaning, packed with seemingly forced high-profile features, if you swap out a few of those tracks with these new songs featuring Pop Smoke’s actual cohorts, the album seems more natural, and likely closer to the vision he had in mind. Nevertheless, Executive Producers Steven Victor, 50 Cent, and Rico Beats worked overtime for The Woo and delivered two new projects. They shot for the stars on the original album, but the deluxe version has fans of Bashar Jackson Jr. over the moon, woo-walking.
Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon (Deluxe) is out now on all streaming platforms.