Fans speculate whether Pop Smoke's social media posts made him a target

Pop Smoke's address was visible in one of his final social media posts, causing some to question whether someone used the post to locate and target him.
Image: Pop Smoke
The rapper Pop Smoke in Paris on Jan. 15, 2020.Claudio Lavenia / Getty Images file

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By Gwen Aviles

The rapper Pop Smoke was fatally shot Wednesday morning during a home invasion in Hollywood Hills, California, and some are speculating whether his final social media posts identifying his location may have made him a target.

Pop Smoke, 20, a rising rapper whose real name was Bashar Jackson, posted a video to his Facebook story Tuesday night of himself opening gift bags with tags that displayed the address of the home where he was staying — leading some to speculate whether the killer used the post to scope out his location.

"So Pop smoke put his address up and this morning someone robbed and killed him?" one person tweeted. "This is not normal, that baby didn't even start life yet!"

The Los Angeles Police Department has not confirmed that Pop Smoke was the victim of the home invasion. A police spokesperson said it would be releasing only the time, location and brief details of the incident.

Multiple law enforcement sources familiar with the case said police have not determined a motive. Jackson has been described as a gang member in court documents, but it's unclear whether that played a part in his killing, the sources said.

Authorities got a call at 4:55 a.m. Wednesday from someone on the East Coast who said a friend inside the home had contacted them to say that multiple people had broken into the home and that one had a handgun, police said.

One person in the home was shot and taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead "hours later," according to Capt. Steven Lurie of the police department's Hollywood Division.

Public property records connect "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" star Teddi Mellencamp, who is musician John Mellencamp's daughter, to the property, and she confirmed that there had been a shooting at the location.

In addition to Tuesday's Facebook story, Jackson's friend Mike Dee also posted a picture to Instagram. The post included pictures of the pair outside the house. Because the numbers of the address are visible in the picture, some say the post could have made Jackson more vulnerable.

Many cautioned against using the social media posts as a way of "victim-blaming."

"Y'all victim blaming Pop Smoke because he.....posted his address??" one user wrote. "These must be the same folks who think black men deserve to be shot/killed for wearing hoodies after dark...or women are asking to be raped because they dress provocatively."

"We know where hundreds of celebrities live and they haven't gotten robbed and murdered the day after," another person tweeted. "Pop Smoke didn't do s--- to himself."

While authorities had not yet commented on whether Jackson's social media posts could be connected to the home invasion, some people were nonetheless interpreting the shooting as a cautionary tale.

"Pop Smoke posted his address on social media and few hours later he was murdered, this shows how careful we gotta be with whatever we share for the world to see," one person tweeted. "Not everyone wants to see you win in life."

Social media has provided an especially complicated consideration for celebrities — who must balance promoting their brands and protecting their safety — in recent years. After Kim Kardashian West was robbed at gunpoint at a rented luxury mansion in Paris in October 2016, she decided not to post on social media in real time anymore, as she said the incident revealed to her that "people really knew" her "every move."

Jackson released his breakout hit, "Welcome to the Party," in April. Nicky Minaj remixed the song, which was originally a part of Jackson's debut mixtape, "Meet the Woo."