Last weekend, Pop Smoke’s second posthumous album, Faith, was released. With 34 previously unreleased songs already out between his 2020 effort Shoot For The Stars Aim For The Moon’s standard and deluxe versions (which even the quality on some of those songs are questionable), concerns are up as these are tracks that were cut from both Pop’s own drawing board and Shoot For The Stars executive producer 50 Cent’s. Adding to these worries, this 20 song LP contains 21 big-name features, which can only prelude to how raw and unfocused the material really is. Setting itself up to be one of the most money-hungry and disrespectful hip hop albums ever, will Faith prove big-name labels truly are the root of all evil?
While I could break down each of these 20 tracks and analyze their musical qualities, there’s little to no point. From the pacing to the performances, this album is an absolute disgrace to Pop Smoke and hip-hop culture as a whole. Granted, there are some solid tracks here like the Bizzy Banks collaboration “30” and the absolute showcase of Rick Ross’s greatness in “Manslaugther,” but in the overall scheme of what Pop Smoke and his legacy stand for, this goes against his every strength. The features make take up more time than Pop himself, and half the performances from the Brooklyn drill titan are just unused takes from songs he’s already released. It’s actually comical how tracks like “More Time” just repeat iconic Pop Smoke line’s like the ones from his 2020 hit “44 BullDog” as if no one would notice. It’s pretty sad because these verses are some of the only times we actually get full solo tracks from the woo master himself, and near all of them are mediocre at best.
Looking at the features, there’s an abundance of industry plant plugs that’s appearances shouldn’t surprise the audience one bit. Quavo, Lil Tjay, Takeoff, Swae Lee, and Lil Tjay are all fitting artists for a record like this as all worked with or had some sort of relationship with Pop in the past, but names like Chris Brown, Dua Lipa, Future, 21 Savage, and Kodak Black, simply have no place being here. Despite their relationships with Pop, the chemistry between his botched vocals and the guest’s showings is near to nonexistent. While all of those names being featured shouldn’t surprise anyone, guest spots from legends like Pharell Williams, Kid Cudi, and Kanye West definitely should. Even such great artists all manage to do nothing literally with their showings that are completely meaningless outside of their star power. I think Pharell and fellow Neptunes running mate Chad Hugo finally made a bad song with “Top Shotta”. Throwing Pop over a Caribbean beat with foreign singers Travi and Beam, all while Pusha T manages to squiggle in a neat verse of his own, we have a team-up that’s the equivalent to oil and water. In all honesty, Pusha T was the real star of the record with his verse on “Tell The Vision,” which slewed out an array of jabs as he friendly poked at Tyler The Creator for only having the album of the year till Pop drops (which was completely and utterly wrong) and then preluding that he will be dropping a new album soon which is all casually wrapped up by throwing a subliminal at Drake. Overall, some solid features are scattered around this thing, but there’s truly nothing worth synching an hour of your time into.
Walking away from Faith and the only posthumous album I could say was treated worse was XXXTENTACION’s Bad Vibes Forever. It really just sickens me how a label can treat a dead artist like this and attempt to soil their legacy through the landfill of music that this is. Going forward, I hope this is the last we ever hear from Pop as it’s clear his stash has been drained to the smallest shrivel, and with that, Republic Records has successfully exploited his death for their own benefit. Everyone who worked on this record should be ashamed of themselves.
- Pusha T & Rick Ross verses
- Some bangers
- Disrespectful to Pop Smoke’s legacy
- Clearly wasn’t fit to be a studio album
- Make’s Pop Smoke look like an absolute joke
- Super messy and all over the place with its random features and terrible pacing
Written By: Mr. Fantastic