Pop Smoke led a life short-lived. Dying at just 20 years old didn’t give him much time to influence the world of music as much as he likely could have. Yet, he did influence music. Pop Smoke had a huge influence on the Chicago Drill scene as well as a few influential years making waves in the larger world of modern hip-hop as a whole. With an ally like 50 Cent at his back, a father of hip-hop in his own right, there is little surprise that Pop got the traction he did. Pop’s style of music paid homage to 50 in both sound and style and it’s clear to see why 50 saw something in the young rapper when many others may have written him off.
Pop Smoke entered the hip-hop world hard and fast with his emphatic singles “Welcome to the party” and later “Dior”. Big hits, utilizing a style of drill reimagined as Brooklyn Drill. Many argue that what Pop called Brooklyn Drill was closer to the aggressive minimalist style of music employed by UK drill artists rather than being reminiscent of the Chicago style of drill. Whether or not this is true, whether you think Smoke’s style was too closely borrowed from the UK scene to be called his own, is a matter of personal opinion. And, ultimately, Pop wouldn’t care what you think. So why worry about it?
Best pop smoke hype songs
Element fits perfectly at the start of this list, which is in no particular order because it almost doesn’t fit with the rest of his music. If there was ever an argument that all of Pop’s music “sounds the same” this is the clearest and irrefutable rebuttal of such an unfounded statement. A clear drift from his UK-esque drill and an emphatic statement of who he is. A hype song if there ever was one. Short. Sweet. Unapologetic.
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2) Welcome To The Party (Skepta Remix)
There is, obviously as a remix, more than one version of this song. For the top 15 though, it kinda has to include Skepta. The not-so-subtle nod to the UK drill that influenced so much of the music that Pop ultimately made his own is such a huge part of his sound and who he is. The inclusion of Meek Mill in this edition of Welcome To The Party is the icing on the cake. So to speak.
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3) Christopher Walking
Christopher Walking is the perfect example of how Pop’s sound seemed to be beyond his years in many ways. Not just the powerful lyrics but the very sound of his voice. Deep, commanding, older than 20. This clear nod to the King Of New York starring, no surprise, Christopher Walken. The comparisons he draws between himself and Walken’s character, Frank White, are a great insight into his sense of self and another example of maturity not many 20-year-old kids would have. Even if it was his second album.
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Best pop smoke drill songs
Not his first, perhaps his most famous, Dior. Proof that you can drop a hard track that still has fans laughing their asses off. Dior is very reminiscent of UK Drill and one of the points of origin for the self-titled genre of Brooklyn Drill. But, with all that in mind, Dior feels like a hip-hop song. Call it UK hip-hop if you want, but it’s very reminiscent of 50’s style and that doesn’t seem to be coincidental. The release of this song is what many fans would call the catalyst of his career.
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5) Better Have Your Gun
Better have your gun is everything that a drill song is meant to be. Even using the word song somehow feels wrong. It’s something more, a feeling, maybe. The energy and tension that Better Have Your Gun brings to the table are contagious and there is little surprise the song charted as well as it did. This is one of the instances where Pop is very clear about letting you know how dangerous he is. Or at least, how dangerous he considers himself to be. Was this song a message to the haters? Oh, you laugh at my pain? Better have ya gun.
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This may be one of not just Pop’s best, but THE best drill songs of the past 5 years. If you didn’t listen to this for the first time and catch yourself thinking that it was 50 on the mic himself then you’re lying. Probably. Everything that makes Pop Smoke great is immortalized in this song. His blend of 50’s style of hip-hop with UK drill beats is nothing short of awesome and a testament to the versatility that Pop had to be able to blend two big personalities so creatively.
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Best pop smoke love songs
7) What You Know Bout Love
How could it not be? If this isn’t in your top 15 of all hip-hop love songs then there is a good chance you’ve just never listened to it before. A hip-hop song can rarely be called beautiful but here we are. An honest expression of infatuation and the often overwhelming desire to say, do and be the right thing for the person you love. A love song at heart and it manages to do it without being corny.
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8) For The Night
One of the most powerful songs on Pop’s posthumous album (after he passed away) and a very loose definition of the characteristic of a love song. But, it does edge in on a technicality. It is about love or at least affection, For The Night seems to emulate the love Pop had for the lifestyle even the darker parts of it. He knew the game he was playing and he played it well. For The Night is probably about as rough as a love song can be, in every sense of the word.
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9) Yea Yea
“Yea Yea” is a great example of Pop just letting the music flow through him and trying to apply meaning after the fact. This amazing interview he did with Apple Music demonstrates that perfectly and not only simplifies the song it makes it even better. It’s only a 2-minute interview, don’t worry. Does Yea Yea show a, albeit small, glimmer of vulnerability from Pop? “Baby girl let me know if your love is real”. The back and forth between repping his Rollie and gun and this vulnerable relationship with his girl shows a softer side to Pop. Or maybe it doesn’t.
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Best pop smoke workout songs
10) Got It On Me
Another connection to the UK Drill scene that more or less adopted Pop for a short while Got It On Me is everything that makes drill great conveyed with the energy that makes you want to run, punch, and push yourself harder than ever before. If you are looking for a few Pop Smoke songs to flesh out your gym playlist then this is as good a starting point as any.
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Pop goes HARD in Flexing and you should be all for it. This song slaps and there is no other way to describe it. If Flexing doesn’t light a fire under your ass and make you wanna run then boy I don’t know what will. Unfortunately, if you don’t like UK Drill then Flexing isn’t for you. Because this ain’t no Brooklyn anything. This is the embodiment of UK Drill and Pop Smoke owned it in a way even some UK artists never will
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12) Aim For The Moon
If you are looking for a hype workout song then Aim For The Moon is there for you. The title almost walks you through the process. Keep pushing, aim for the moon. Pop did, and he nearly made it.
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Best songs in pop smoke’s latest album
13) More TIme
Here is where things start to get a little sad. Faith brings about a lot of unexpressed feelings about Pop before his untimely death coming from his friends and mentors as well as from what the fans had left to say. More time could not be more on the nose for what the hip-hop and drill scenes needed from Pop.
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14) Brush Em
There is a lot of anger coming from Brush Em and you can’t help but feel a lot of it is accentuated by his passing. Anger stems from loss and this song does a good job of showing that. The whole album has an undertone of frustration and loss, how can it not? Brush Em is definitely up there with one of the hardest songs in Faith. This is saying something because this album rolls deep.
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15) Woo Baby
Last but not least, blah blah blah, what a cliche. Unfortunately, it has to be said because otherwise there is a chance you might think Woo Baby is just an off-hand addition to this list and isn’t deserving of its place. It is. There are rumors that there is a different version of this song, featuring Tory Lanez which would be, let’s face it, fire. But, it hasn’t surfaced. Or at least, we haven’t found it yet. The song goes hard as it is, but any excuse to listen to more Pop Smoke is valid in our books.
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You could spend your time fretting over whether or not Pop would have gotten the opportunities he did if 50 didn’t give him a shot, for reasons likely stemming from their similarities in style. A probable feeling of being a kindred spirit. But history doesn’t often care about the how and the why. It cares about the result. Pop made a name for himself by working hard, exploring different sounds to those of his colleagues, and pushing limits. Would he have made it without 50? Who knows. Would 50 have made it without being taken under the wing of RUN DMC? Again, who knows? Appreciate greatness when greatness is in front of you. And this list of Pop Smoke’s top 15 of all time is great. Don’t kid yourself thinking otherwise. If you want to listen to these Pop Smoke songs or create another amazing hip-hop playlist, try Listenonrepeat. Listenonrepeat is the number one Youtube loop site which also gives you the ability to start/stop at specific times for ANY Youtube song. Check out listenonrepeat.com today!