Pop Smoke - Faith Music Album Reviews

Pop Smoke - Faith Music Album Reviews
Pop Smoke’s second posthumous album sounds like it’s solely designed to generate clicks as a new generation of rap fans continues to be exploited for their streams.

Pop Smoke’s co-managers Steven Victor and Rico Beats, along with the corner office executives at Republic Records, are hopeful that they can upload Pop Smoke’s second posthumous album, Faith, to streaming platforms so that everyone will mindlessly slip it into their rotations and playlists for the rest of the year. They’ll desperately try to placate skeptical fans: This album will keep Pop’s legacy alive! Hey, the intro includes a spiritual speech from his mother! It all feels like an attempt to manipulate us into believing that an argument against Faith is an argument against the wishes of his fans and family—so that the powers-that-be can sit back and line their pockets with the bucks they leeched from Pop Smoke’s legacy.

It’s not to say that making a profit wasn’t a goal of Pop Smoke’s music or that money-making isn’t one of the inherent purposes of posthumous albums, but it should also seek to preserve the spirit of the artist’s music. Faith is unconcerned with anything outside of financial gain. The album is filled with unfinished records, demos, and reference tracks that were sliced together and completed with features only selected to juice streaming numbers. Whoever devised this Frankenstein creation doesn’t seem to get the appeal of Pop Smoke. Meet the Woo, his debut mixtape, was packed with tracks that felt designed to soundtrack a couple of blocks in Canarsie, Brooklyn, and managed to trickle far outside of those borders because of his smooth yet intense personality, the sharp drill production, and that one of a kind growling, deep voice.

Faith leans into a direction that was experimented with on Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon, which is to make music for everywhere. But so often, music made for everywhere sounds like it belongs nowhere. Take the Neptunes-produced “Merci Beaucoup,” featuring one of the strongest Pop verses on the album. “Catch a op and I’m takin’ his jewelry, catch a op and I’m takin’ his jewelry/I said, ‘Don’t get it twisted, just ’cause I smile a lot, that don’t mean I’m with the foolery’,” he raps. Too bad the sweet-sounding beat doesn’t fit the sinister mood of Pop’s raps, it sounds like a mashup you might accidentally play on YouTube. Similarly, the hokey Swizz Beatz instrumental on “8-Ball” makes Pop, one of the most energetic and dynamic rap voices to come out in years, come across dull.

But beyond stripping Pop of his personality, the most offensively bad records on Faith are the ones that have no shame in hiding their financial intentions. I feel dirty listening to the “So Sick”-sampling “Woo Baby” with Chris Brown, which was so obviously made to fill the radio airwaves with white noise. The Kanye and Pusha-T-assisted “Tell the Vision” has the energy of a college paper struggling to hit the word count. “Look, Tyler got the album of the year… for now/But Pop about to drop/I see the platinum in the clouds,” raps Pusha, and I’m sure the record label didn’t even care what it sounded like; it’s just there, like a handful of the album’s features, to fill space and generate clicks.

The most confusing record is “Demeanor” with Dua Lipa, where a short Pop verse and rough hook are laid over the type of bubbly production that could backdrop an episode of Gossip Girl. It doesn’t work and feels out of line with Pop’s music—he never had to sacrifice his drill sound or intensity to make a hit. But again, the shepherds of this album couldn’t care less about the quality. If this album was actually about Pop Smoke’s legacy, like his managers and label would like us to believe, there would be a larger emphasis on paying tribute to those drill roots. One of the more interesting elements of Meet the Woo Vol. 2 was how Pop expanded and built on the foundation laid by drill. The only signs of that on the project are through the brash “Brush Em” with fine fellow Canarsie rapper Rah Swish and the hectic “30” with Bizzy Banks.

Aside from those brief moments, the only good that comes out of Faith is a reassurance that artists cannot be replaced. Though it’s hard to be optimistic, there’s a long history of shameless, money-hungry posthumous albums; and now after a tragic couple of years in rap, a new generation of fans is being terrorized and exploited for their streams. Where will we draw the ethical line? How far are we from the days where it’s commonplace for labels to put on hologram live shows and pay some tech company to recreate a voice? Faith is a bleak reflection of the reality that nothing is off-limits if it will help record labels pocket a few more dollars.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Pop Smoke - Faith Music Album Reviews Pop Smoke - Faith Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on July 28, 2021 Rating: 5


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