Pop Smoke, an up-and-coming rapper from New York, was fatally shot during a home invasion in the Hollywood Hills early Wednesday morning, according to published reports.
Born Bashar Barakah Jackson, the 20-year-old performer rocketed to fame last year with his single “Welcome to the Party.” He died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
In a news conference carried on local TV, the LAPD confirmed a shooting occurred at about 4:55 a.m. inside a sprawling home in the 2000 block of Hercules Drive. Police said someone inside the house called a friend on the East Coast, who then notified authorities in Los Angeles.
“The radio call was called in by someone from back East, and stated a friend of theirs’ home was being broken into by multiple suspects and that one of them was armed with a handgun,” Captain Steve Lurie of the LAPD’s Hollywood Division told reporters. At least one of the suspects was wearing a mask.
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Lurie said officers arrived within six minutes and found a male victim had been shot. Members of the Los Angeles Fire Department transported him to Cedars, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.
Officers detained several people inside the house, but they were later released. Up to six suspects are being sought as the investigation gets underway, police said.
According to news reports, the rapper was renting the home, which is valued at more than $2 million. Teddi Mellencamp of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and her husband, Edwin Arroyave, own the house.
In an Instagram post, 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.”
The hip-hop artist had a long rap sheet in New York. NYPD records obtained by WNBC-TV show he was arrested eight times, most recently in December 2019 for grand larceny, when he was allegedly found in possession of a stolen Rolls Royce. Among the other charges on his rap sheet were shoplifting from Bergdorf Goodman, and leaving the scene of a car accident after allegedly hitting a pedestrian.
Pop Smoke’s profile increased last year when Nicki Minaj and Skepta remixed his single “Welcome to the Party.” Minaj posted a tribute to the slain rapper on Instagram.
“The Bible tells us that jealousy is as cruel as the grave. Unbelievable. Rest In Peace, Pop,” she wrote.
Chance the Rapper and 50 Cent also remembered Pop Smoke on social media.
“Rest Up Pop Smoke, you were too young. God Bless and comfort your family. What a crazy trajectory you were on man smh,” Chance tweeted.
Added 50 Cent on Twitter, “No such thing as success with out jealousy, treachery comes from those who are close. R.i.P”
Pop Smoke’s death came just days after his second mixtape, “Meet the Woo 2,” landed in the top ten on the Billboard 200 chart.