Pop Smoke’s Second Posthumous Album, ‘Faith,’ Hits No. 1

“Faith,” the second album by the Brooklyn rapper Pop Smoke to be released since he was shot and killed in February 2020 at the age of 20, tops the Billboard chart this week, just as the previous one did.

But the difference in listenership was stark: “Faith” opened with 88,000 equivalent album units, including 113 million streams and 4,000 in sales, according to MRC Data, Billboard’s tracking arm, while “Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon,” from last July, was nearly three times more popular in its opening week, earning the equivalent of 251,000 albums sold, with 268 million streams and 59,000 in sales (including now-restricted merchandise bundles).

“Faith” received tepid album reviews, with some questioning its posthumous assembly and the inclusion of more than 20 guests (Dua Lipa, Kanye West, Chris Brown) across the album’s 20 tracks. A deluxe edition adding four more songs was released on July 21, the day before the chart week ended.

Pop Smoke, born Bashar Jackson, once a leader of Brooklyn’s rising drill movement, was killed last year during a home invasion in the Hollywood Hills after inadvertently revealing his address on Instagram. Los Angeles police officers said at a hearing in May that five teenagers had plotted to rob the rapper, coming away only with a watch that they sold for $2,000.

Three people have been charged in juvenile court with Pop Smoke’s killing, while the alleged getaway driver, who the authorities say conceived of the plot and was 19 at the time, is being charged as an adult. A 15-year-old boy has been accused of firing the fatal shots, the authorities said, according to The Los Angeles Times. One person remains at large.

Also on the Billboard chart this week: “Sob Rock,” a 1980s tribute by John Mayer, debuts at No. 2 with 84,000 in equivalent units, including 29 million streams and 61,000 in sales. “Sour” by Olivia Rodrigo is No. 3 with 77,000 units; “Planet Her” by Doja Cat is No. 4 with 59,000; and “Dangerous: The Double Album” by Morgan Wallen, who has apologized for his use of a racial slur in February, is No. 5.

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