Pop Smoke Made the Soundtrack of a Lost Summer

Some albums demand ascetic listening, the kind that happens best in solitude or while wearing noise-canceling headphones. Such music has its place, especially in the colder months. But summer is made for the populist records—albums ideally consumed secondhand, whether blaring from the bass-heavy stereos of cars parading down hot, crowded streets or wafting from the open windows of apartments down the block. Last year, no voice cut through the New York City heat with more force than that of Pop Smoke. The Brooklyn rapper, born Bashar Barakah Jackson in the sweltering July of 1999, quickly rose to the forefront of the borough’s emerging drill scene, a corollary to the London and Chicago movements…


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