Pop Smoke’s posthumous debut album and everything else worth listening to

The best new music in one essential playlist.

by Frankie Dunn
03 July 2020, 3:16pm

Today marks the release of Shoot For The Stars, Aim For The Moon, Pop Smoke’s posthumous debut album. Announced by his manager back in May, the late NYC rapper’s album features collaborations with Quavo, DaBaby, Lil Baby, Swae Lee, Future, 50 Cent, Tyga, Roddy Ricch, KAROL G, Lil Tjay and King Coombs. All 19-tracks were exec produced by 50 Cent (who gets nostalgic and quotes “Candy Shop” on new album track “The Woo”) alongside Pop Smoke’s previous team of producers including Wondagurl.

The artwork for the versatile record has evolved over the past week, after Pop Smoke fans kicked off in response to what they deemed a “lazy” first attempt by Virgil Abloh. “You wanted Virgil to design your album cover and lead creative.. Virgil designed the album cover and led creative,” the late rapper’s manager Steven Victor said three days ago on sharing a design consisting of a photograph of the artist with a CGI barbed wire overlay. Pop's estate were clearly listening, as today’s new-look artwork was a silver rose on a black background -- less bootleg merch, more classy.

Elsewhere in new music -- and on today's playlist -- is the coming together of Ty Dolla $ign, FKA twigs, Skrillex and Kanye West for “Ego Death”, taken from the former’s forthcoming third album. “I played it once at a house party and everyone went crazy,” Ty said of the track, which, assuming it was a pre-pandemic house party, can only be a good thing. There's more Kanye in the form of Travis Scott-collab “Wash Us In The Blood”, on which he attests how much God has helped him grow in recent times. He discussed that and more with Pharrell in a recent interview for i-D.

And you know what else is necessary to take the edge off this week? Some feel-good, laid-back jazz. Luckily Emma-Jean Thackray’s “Open -- Remix” featuring California wordsmith Blu just dropped, as did the delightfully warm “Quarantena” by fellow Londoner Tenderlonious. Dream Wife’s ambitious new album So When You Gonna… is out today too, and we’ve stuck “RH RN” in the playlist alongside “Fake Sorry” by Denai Moore, Scuti’s “You Know”, “Bon acteur” by Lous and The Yakuza, and the welcome union of AJ Tracey and Mabel on “West Ten”.

Also expect great new stuff from Myquale, Rachel Chinouriri and Sam Dotia, Griff, Jayda G, Christine and the Queens and more. Phew.