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Pop Smoke, New York Drill Rapper, Dies At 20

Pop Smoke performing during the Astroworld Festival in Houston, Tx. in 2019. The rapper was killed during a home invasion on Feb. 19, 2020.
SUZANNE CORDEIRO
/
AFP via Getty Images
Pop Smoke performing during the Astroworld Festival in Houston, Tx. in 2019. The rapper was killed during a home invasion on Feb. 19, 2020.

Brooklyn-hailing rapper Pop Smoke, who was born Bashar Barakah Jackson, died Wednesday morning, according to his record label. The rising act was killed during a Los Angeles home invasion on Feb. 19, 2020. He was 20 years old.

Pop Smoke was a rising start in the New York drill scene because his intensity made him an outlier. Everything about his demeanor and delivery stood out — his tongue-curling ad-lib, a sometimes disorienting flow and the type of gravel-gargling tone that stops music listeners in their tracks.

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Sidney Madden is a reporter and editor for NPR Music. As someone who always gravitated towards the artforms of music, prose and dance to communicate, Madden entered the world of music journalism as a means to authentically marry her passions and platform marginalized voices who do the same.