BREAKING: Police arrest 5 suspects in February slaying of rapper Pop Smoke

Five suspects have been arrested in the February slaying of rapper Pop Smoke, a rap newcomer who was shot multiple times in a home invasion robbery in Hollywood Hills, according to a statement by the Los Angeles Police Department.

Authorities said three men were taken into custody along with two male juveniles. Their names have not been released yet. Details about the arrests were forthcoming, officials said.

The fledgling artist, whose real name is Bashar Barakah Jackson, was 20 years old. Smoke’s posthumous album titled “Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon,” executive-produced by rapper 50 Cent, was released last Friday.

Reports citing law enforcement officials said at the time that four masked men burst into the rented home where Jackson was staying about 4:30 a.m. Feb. 19 and opened fire.

The men were seen fleeing the scene. Critically wounded, Jackson was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in West Hollywood, where he died, according to reports.

Police said there had been a party or gathering at the house before the shooting occurred.

Several people who were still in the house after the shooting were detained and then released, according to The Associated Press.

Celebrity rental home

Smoke was renting the home, which is owned by Edwin Arroyave, the husband of Teddi Mellencamp of the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”

In an Instagram post after the shooting, 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.”

Commentary circulating on social media revealed Smoke had publicly shared his address in an Instagram video only hours before the shooting.

The Twitter account for The Academy Music Business, an advocacy group for independent artists, warned other rappers against publicizing their whereabouts on social media.

Short-lived music career

Smoke’s short-lived music career began less than a year ago with the debut of his July 2019 solo effort called “Meet the Woo.” The lead single from the album, “Welcome to the Party,” was an instant hit. Months later, the popular “gangsta anthem” was picked up and remixed by rapper Nicki Minaj.

Smoke’s sophomore effort, “Meet the Woo 2,” debuted just weeks before his death and features tracks with Quavo from Migos and the rapper A Boogie wit da Hoodie.

The album debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart, the AP reported. Smoke also recorded a song with rapper Travis Scott, which appears on a separate 2019 compilation album called “JackBoys.”


Pop Smoke had been facing charges of transportation of a stolen vehicle over state lines.

On Jan. 17, he was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York after a Rolls-Royce he borrowed in California for a music video turned up at his mother's house in Brooklyn with fake license plates, according to reports.

Smoke pleaded not guilty and was released on $250,000 bail on the same day.

Early life

Jackson was born July 20, 1999, in Brooklyn.

According to reports, he got his start in 2018 on the New York drill music scene, hanging out at recording studios and learning the ropes from other established artists. He started out by remixing popular music and went on to find major success creating his own sound.

Other rappers killed

Smoke’s death came about 11 months after rapper Nipsey Hussle was shot and killed in Los Angeles, and on a day when the man charged with killing him, Eric R. Holder, appeared in court for a hearing.

Another rapper, 31-year-old Lawrence Franks Jr., better known as Baby Huey, was shot and killed in late June outside St. Louis, the city where he made his name. No arrests have been made in the June 26 shooting of Huey, best known for his 2006 hit "Pop, Lock & Drop It."

A year ago this month, up-and-coming Philadelphia rapper Bankroll Gambino, 21, was shot and killed during a music video shoot there.

In June 2018, 20-year-old rapper XXXTentacion was gunned down while leaving a Miami motorcycle shop.

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