It’s beyond unfortunate that Pop Smoke was taken from this Earth way too soon. The young rapper was taking the music industry by storm, linking up with some of the biggest names in the genre and making hit after hit. It seemed like not only was his talent in high demand for fans, but the biggest names in music seemed to be lining up in order to work with him. This is no surprise, however, because his deep voice, intricate cadences, and alluring persona were all components of an equation that inevitably built a star. He had already made some major moves in his rapidly growing career, but it’s a shame to know that we won’t get to see his career blossom into its full potential which would have been quite a spectacle to see, without a doubt.
Meet the Woo 2 is a perfect example of his talents, portraying a variety of different sounds that helped put the New York artist on the map. “Shake the Room” was one of the standout songs on the project and featured Quavo. As a recap, chopped up vocal samples, speaker busting 808s, and reflecting hats set a precedent unlike any other song out. The overall sound is similar to “Gatti” off of the Jackboys project that Pop was featured on, but there are some subtle differences that really make it bump. Pop Smoke does his thing on the hook, almost interrupting himself with his short words and expressions at first as he aggressively tells people to shake the room.
Quavo flows totally different than normal in the first verse and it almost sounds like he’s testing out a similar cadence as his counterpart. He talks about shaking the room with his weapons, clearing it of all its inhabitants as well as characteristically interesting bars about his wealth. Pop goes from his choppy style in the hook right into the second verse, displaying his off-kilter and one of a kind delivery. He mentions things like his respect being earned rather than given and very specific luxury goods from artists and designers. He even namedrops the great George Condo, who most music fans know as the artist behind the illustrious designs on Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
The video that brings this song back into our memories is produced by Off-White, which is really cool considering Virgil has been teasing the idea of starting a Rap video production studio as a subset of his booming luxury brand. It also takes place in Paris after the Off-White fashion show, and the two artists can be seen decked out in the designer’s goods. As for the aesthetic, a mixture of homemade, lo-fi recordings mixed in with high clarity, professional shots can be seen. The two talents can be observed drinking wine in a fine dining restaurant, inside of a shiny red Ferrari, and sometimes even in the kitchen of the restaurant they were eating at. Halfway through, the song cuts out and whoever is driving the Ferrari decides to peel out and do donuts on a cobblestone street for a brief hiatus in the video. As the visual continues to progress, Pop and Huncho even include some of the patrons and staff within the restaurant, getting everyone up to dance, celebrate, and attempt to shake the room like they’re constantly mentioning throughout the track. Finally, the video ends after about three and a half minutes, but a touching tribute to Pop Smoke extends the runtime for another minute or so.
This song is literally the definition of a banger, and even without Quavo, it would have been. Don’t get me wrong, Quavo did his thing and he definitely elevated the track, but Pop Smoke just has this energy that’s infectious and makes any song a hit no matter who’s on it. Although Pop was taken way too soon, he left a mark on the music industry and the world as a whole, so his impact will continue to influence generations to come. Celebrate his life and continue his legacy by checking out his latest posthumous release of the masterful music video for “Shake the Room”.
Words by Danny Adams