The life of Bashar Barakah Jackson
Pop Smoke was born as Bashar Barakah Jackson on July 20, 1999 in Brooklyn, New York. His mother is Jamaican and his father is Panamanian. He has a brother, Obasi Jackson, who is also a music artist. Bashar grew up in Canarsie, Brooklyn and he attended nine different schools. He was expelled from the eighth grade for bringing a gun to school. Because of this, Pop Smoke was put on house arrest for two years and he had to wear an ankle bracelet during this period. He was only allowed to go to school while he was on house arrest. Bashar claimed that this is the only reason why he was able to get his diploma.
At 15 years old, he received a basketball scholarship to a prep school in Philadelphia, but unfortunately he was forced to stop playing competitive basketball due the fact that he was diagnosed with a heart murmur 6 months into the program. In an interview with XXL Pop said that he returned to Canarsie after this and turned to street life. At the age of just 16, Bashar was already driving a BMW 5 series.
Pop Smoke explained in an interview with the LA Leakers that coming from the hood, there are three options to survive and make it out of there: to rap, play ball or sell drugs. Pop said that he did all of them and that he was good at it. Before he started rapping, he was playing ball and later he turned to street life since he was not permitted to play competitive basketball. However, a chance to get out of the street life appeared in 2018 during a studio session with rapper and friend Jay Gwuapo.