MUSIC

RIP Pop Smoke: Remembering a Rising Star

The budding 19-year-old "Brooklyn Drill" rapper was killed during a home robbery at his L.A. home last night

The budding Brooklyn drill rapper Pop Smoke was killed during a home invasion last night.

The Los Angeles police responded to an emergency call at 4:20 a.m. last night after "masked gunmen" broke into the house where the rapper was staying. The 20-year-old artist was pronounced dead on arrival at a local hospital.

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Pop Smoke, born Bashar Barakah Jackson, was undoubtedly destined to be Hip-Hop's next trend setter. Profiled by everyone from The New York Times to XXL, Pop Smoke had been deemed by many as a a founding father for the "Brooklyn Drill" movement, an aggressive and colorful amalgamation of the Chicago subgenre and UK drill. Smoke's breakout hit, "Welcome To The Party," exploded on the streets of Brooklyn and then the world last summer, with Smoke's gruff vocals being one of the most highly dissected topics in Hip-Hop. "Pop Smoke is 20 years old. He sounds like he's 60," wrote Stereogum. "He sounds like his vocal chords are made of scorched asphalt and ground-up glass. He sounds like he ate volcanic ash for breakfast. He sounds like his body has been possessed by an ancient Sumerian demon." But whatever you want to say about that distinctive voice, you can't deny it caught people's attention.

So far no one has been arrested or charged in the robbery.

Music Lists

Slept On: New Underground Releases from Drakeo the Ruler, Dreezy & More

Protest music aside, there is a slew of good underground music out today

An invigorating slew of protest music hit the shelves today.

Detroit-based emcee Tee Grizzley collaborated with Queen Naija and the Detroit Youth Choir to craft a melodic ballad that attempts to open up a dialogue with police. Meanwhile, alt-Jazz pioneer Terrace Martin took a different approach in his collaboration with Denzel Curry, Daylyt, G Perico, and Kamasi Washington, with "Pigs Feet" being more of an angry f*ck you than an attempt at communication.

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CULTURE

Mac Miller's Drug Dealer's Arrest Reminds Us Just How Dangerous Fentanyl Is

We all miss Mac Miller, and it's heartbreaking to know that his death could've been prevented.

There's a running theme among celebrity deaths that have occurred over the past few years: fentanyl.

This afternoon, a man named James Pettit was arrested for selling the late rapper Mac Miller counterfeit pills two days before his death. While Miller had believed he was purchasing cocaine, Xanax, and oxycodone, the pills Pettit sold him were apparently laced with fentanyl, a deadly opioid that's 50 times more powerful than heroin.

According to the coroner's analysis, Miller's bloodstream contained alcohol, cocaine, and fentanyl, making it likely that his death was the result of Pettit's falsification. Hours after Miller's death, Pettit apparently texted a friend, "Most likely I will die in jail."

Fentanyl was determined as a cause of death for Prince, Tom Petty, Michael Jackson, Los Angeles pitcher Tyler Skaggs, Wilco guitarist Jay Bennett, Lil Peep, and many more. In 2018, Demi Lovato almost died from an overdose on pills that were laced with the drug.

It's not just reserved for the stars. Out of 5,152 opioid deaths in 10 states in 2018, fentanyl was involved in 3,700 of them, according to the CDC.

Why has counterfeit fentanyl, specifically, become so common among drug dealers? It makes any drug mixed with it much stronger, meaning that dealers can make much more money from selling less product. But fentanyl is so potent that even a slight miscalculation can result in death.

Sometimes called the third wave of the opioid crisis, fentanyl is rising in popularity across the nation, and some experts are calling for it to be treated like a poisoning epidemic.

Fentanyl is one of the deadliest drugs available, but it's part of a larger opioid crisis that's overtaken the US. Every 12 minutes, an American dies from an opioid overdose. In 2017, there were 70,237 drug overdose deaths, and 68% were caused by opioids.

If you are struggling with substance abuse, please call the SAMHSA National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for free and confidential information.

Learn the signs of opioid overdose here. Learn about how to purchase an over-the-counter overdose reversal drug called Naloxone here—it could save lives.