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Rapper Pop Smoke killed in shooting at 20; music world mourns 'unexpected and tragic loss'

Anika Reed, USA TODAY

Pop Smoke, an up-and-coming New York rapper known for his critically acclaimed song "Welcome to the Party," died at age 20, his record label confirmed.

"We are devastated by the unexpected and tragic loss of Pop Smoke," Republic Records said in a statement Wednesday. "Our prayers and thoughts go out to his family, friends and fans, as we mourn this loss together."

Sarah Ardalani, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner, identified Pop Smoke, born Bashar Barakah Jackson, as the victim of the shooting. He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead early Wednesday morning.

Los Angeles police officer Lizeth Lomeli confirmed a person was shot after an unknown number of suspects wearing masks entered a home on the 2000 block of Hercules Drive in Hollywood, California, but did not identify the victim. Lomeli said a person was shot, taken to a hospital and announced dead 

Public listings show that the home is owned by Edwin Arroyave and his wife Teddi Mellencamp, daughter of singer John Mellencamp and star of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”

In an Instagram post Wednesday morning, Teddi Mellencamp said “we were informed by a 3rd party leasing and management company overseeing a rental home we own in Los Angeles that a shooting had taken place at the property. Foremost, we would like to extend our prayers and condolences to the family and loved ones affected by this tragic loss of life.”

Mellencamp said she and her husband were not aware of any further details beyond what they have learned through media reports.

Police said the 911 call came from “back East” and reported the break-in was occurring at a friend’s home.

Several people who were in the house were detained and then released, Capt. Steve Lurie said.

“We’re just getting started in this investigation,” he said.

Pop Smoke dropped his "Meet the Woo 2" mixtape this month. His death comes days after his latest release scored him his first top 10 spot on the Billboard charts

He collaborated with artists including Travis Scott, H.E.R., Quavo and fellow New York rapper A Boogie wit da Hoodie. The rapper was scheduled to perform at the Rolling Loud music festival in Miami this year.

The New York-based rapper rose to fame with his single "Welcome to the Party" released in April. Fellow rappers Nicki Minaj and Dave East took notice and offered remixes of the hit song. The song was popular not only with fellow artists, Pitchfork listed it as one of the best songs of 2019, and Complex magazine ranked it as No. 14 on its "Best Songs of 2019" list.

Pop Smoke's lawyer declined to comment on the incident.

Nicki Minaj mourned the late rapper with a post on Instagram Wednesday.

"The Bible tells us that jealousy is as cruel as the grave," she wrote. "Unbelievable. Rest In Peace, Pop."

50 Cent paid tribute to Pop Smoke, who garnered comparisons to the veteran rapper. "R.I.P to my man Pop Smoke, No sympathy for winners," 50 Cent tweeted. "God bless him."

Fellow Brooklyn rapper Young M.A. remembered Pop Smoke on Instagram. "Lost for words right now," she captioned a photo of the rapper. "Brooklyn King! Rest up!"

Rapper Bas said Pop Smoke "made the whole city proud" in a tweet Wednesday.

Rapper Freddie Gibbs tweeted that he was "in the lab last night comparing Pop Smoke to 50 (Cent) when he came out," adding an RIP hashtag.

Pop Smoke was arrested in January at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, charged with interstate transport of a stolen vehicle, according to CNN and NBC News.

He pleaded not guilty to allegedly transporting a stolen Rolls Royce Wraith across state lines, according to the outlets.

Contributing: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Pop Smoke dead: NY rapper killed at 20; Nicki Minaj, 50 Cent mourn