Pop Smoke - Faith

Regular price $ 31.99

Though 2020's Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon was blighted by industry tampering, the voice of Brooklyn's Pop Smoke still cut through -- no amount of radio-friendly glitz could dampen the authenticity of "Got It on Me," "44 Bulldog," or "Gangstas." Regrettably, the rapper's second posthumous album, Faith, suppresses him almost entirely. Smoke is no longer the thunderous cloud descending on his anthems; rather, he feels almost entirely an afterthought. The main culprit is, of course, the unsolicited changes made after his tragic death. Smoke's day-one collaborators -- 808Melo, YozBeats, Swirv -- lamented being omitted from the record, and with long-anticipated leaks like "We Made It" (featuring Calboy), "Bout a Million," and "Tiger" warped here beyond recognition, their claims hold weight. The most painful loss is Eli Fross' "Top Shotta." Originally a gravelly track firmly in Smoke's ballpark, it has since been gutted of both its drill roots and its collaborator, replaced by a garishly tropical beat and the obnoxious TRAVI. A chain of similarly bankrupt decisions -- 13 of the album's tracks are alleged to feature major post-death changes -- ensure that Faith feels far from anything its "creator" would have released.

With Smoke's collaborators out of the process, it would be fair to assume that his current creative team would surpass their work. Yet Faith is tarnished by a rocky production suite: "Bout a Million" adopts the sleepy guitars of the zeitgeist, "8-Ball" is a farmyard-like catastrophe, and "Tiger" has been gutted for the a cappella "Woo Baby Interlude." Amid the sea of names, a few new collaborators make waves -- Takeoff and Rick Ross proving especially potent partners -- while Smoke's friends (Rah Swish, Bizzy Banks, Lil Tjay) deliver some of the set's few true gems. For the most part, though, features fumble more than they flourish: Pusha T arrogantly advertises his own album, Kid Cudi buzzes through "8-Ball" in monotone, and Kanye arrives briefly for a garbled string of syllables. Even Dua Lipa, ostensibly at home on the slick grooves of "Demeanor," stumbles out with the excruciating "You can't say Pop without Smoke/So fill up your lungs, my diamonds will make you choke." Unfortunately, the rapper's second posthumous release is all pop, no smoke. With friends and collaborators surgically removed, Faith is littered with jarring voices, avaricious creative decisions, and a fundamental sidelining of its visionary figurehead.

Pop Smoke– Good News 0:46
Pop Smoke– More Time 2:00
Pop Smoke– Tell The Vision 3:35
Pop Smoke– Manslaughter 4:09
Pop Smoke– Bout A Million 3:23
Pop Smoke– Brush Em 2:30
Pop Smoke & The Neptunes– Top Shotta 4:19
Pop Smoke– 30 3:48
Pop Smoke– Beat The Speaker 1:46
Pop Smoke– Coupe 2:03
Pop Smoke– What's Crackin 2:57
Pop Smoke, Lil Tjay* & Swae Lee– Genius 3:28
Pop Smoke– Mr. Jones 3:34
Pop Smoke– Woo Baby Interlude 0:28
Pop Smoke– Woo Baby 2:36
Pop Smoke– Demeanor 3:04
Pop Smoke– Spoiled 1:44
Pop Smoke– 8-Ball 2:56
Pop Smoke– Back Door 4:03
Pop Smoke– Merci Beaucoup 2:55