Shoot For The Stars Aim For The Moon is the posthumous commercial debut album of New York rapper Pop Smoke who was tragically killed this past February in what seems a showdown.
He died the week after the release of Meet The Woo 2, the sequel to his breakout mixtape of 2019, through which he rose to the top of New York's burgeoning Drill scene.
New York Drill is one of the most interesting musical anomalies at this moment. The Drill sound was created in Chicago a decade ago. Still, the genre has been revitalized in South London, incorporating different flows, instrumentals, and of course, lingos into this very aggressive and violent branch of rap music. So interestingly enough, that strain of Drill has been coming back around, influencing artists from not only the Big Apple but also nationally. Drake, for example, released several songs, like War or Demons, inspired by UK artists, and has also collaborated with them.
Pop Smoke had one of the more unique voices and styles to come out of New York in a while; his original Meet The Woo tape is packed with dark rhythmically intricate instrumentals, moody tones, and a voice that literally sounds like the representation of smoke and his delivery on that project brought sounding cold-blooded to a new level.
Pop Smoke was very dedicated to the music business, despite being only 20.
He knew that in order to expand his audience, he could not continue to only rap on drill production.
During his last interviews, he expressed the will to garner the female public attention, making love bangers while maintaining his crisp gangsta persona.
Shoot For The Stars Aim For The Moon is an excellent attempt at doing so. Executive produced by his would-be mentor 50 Cent, the album is versatile, feature-packed, and loaded with radio and playlist-friendly records.
50's influence resulted in great moments but is also obvious and, at times, overbearing, despite his good intentions.
Thankfully, the finished product here sounds like a complete album with structured songs, not just a bunch of random odds and ends filled out with mediocre instrumentals and features like, unfortunately, XXXTENTACION posthumous albums.
Overall, the album offers a fleeting peek into the artist Pop would become, beyond Drill, beyond Brooklyn, beyond even the United States.