After the success of his sophomore project Meet The Woo 2, Pop Smoke appeared to be a star in the making. Unfortunately, on February 19th, everything changed as the young mc was shot in his LA home and pronounced dead later that night. On the bright side, Pop’s last words have been finished by idol and mentor 50 Cent.”Shoot for the Stars Aim for The Moon” is the best way to give fans the goodbye they deserved from the young star in the making.
Pop Smoke pushes his artistic ability to new levels on this project. Along with his usual hardcore rapping style, we see him tap into a more laid back and melodic side. This is evident on the tracks “Yea Yea” and “The Woo” which features Roddy Rich and 50 Cent. With versatility like this, the album is a lot more engaging and dynamic than previous works. In addition, songs like “Gangstas” and “Creature” show the aggressive side fans got to know and love Pop Smoke for. Supporting the deceased mc, a star-studded feature cast was brought in to help the album. Artists like Future, Lil Baby, and others enhance the tracks they appear on while some artists like Quavo seem overused and detrimental to specific cuts. The definite standout of the album is “Got It on Me”, which shows Pop reflecting on his life and the dangers which could lead to his demise. Overall, Pop Smoke’s artistic journey culminates into this emotional farewell to the world who embraced him.
Sonically, Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon is pleasing for most of its running time. Pop Smoke indeed switched it up on this one as we see him rap over an array of different sounding sonic pockets. Beats such as “Yea Yea” and “What You Know Bout Love” show a softer sappier side to the artist. Simultaneously, “Aim for the Moon” and “44 BullDog” take listeners back to the vibes they fell in love with the Brooklyn mc for. On the contrary, songs like “Snitching” and “Tunnel Vision” sound unoriginal and safe compared to majority of the tracklist. The instrumentals are diverse, which makes each track feel distinct from one another. As a whole, there’s little to complain about when it comes to the sonicallity of this record.
In conclusion, Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon is a beautiful last dance for Pop Smoke. The best elements of his Meet The Woo series are present while we also see glimpses of his future artistic vision. What is definite is that Pop was just starting to branch out into new sounds and find his artistic niche. With all the emotions this record gives off, I can safely say is that Pop Smoke’s legacy will live through Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon until the end of time.