Pop Smoke is about to join two iconic rappers as the only artists (of any genre) to have more than one posthumous No. 1 album

(July 18, 2021).  Exactly one year ago today, the blog posted an article about how late rapper Pop Smoke (born Bashar Barakah Jackson) was part of chart history when he and fellow late rapper Juice WRLD consecutively debuted albums at the top of the Billboard 200 chart.  

It was the first time that artists of any genre had posthumously debuted albums at the top of the chart in consecutive weeks.

Now, a year later, Smoke is about to become part of history again with the followup album Faith (released Friday, July 16).  Note: its predecessor Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon has been in the top 20 of the Billboard 200 ever since it’s release, making Smoke’s first album one of the greatest posthumous albums of all time!

Pop Smoke’s new album Faith (album cover)

According to projections published by Hits Daily Double on Saturday, Smoke’s Faith is expected to move 110-120k album equivalent units in its first full week, more than enough to give it the No. 1 slot over nearest competitors Olivia Rodrigo and John Mayer, whose Sour and Sob Rock albums, respectively, will battle it out for the runner-up slot.

If the projections hold up – and they usually do – Pop Smoke would join only two other artists in history to have more than one posthumous chart-topper.  And they both happen to be legendary rappers.  

The late icons Tupac Shakur, whose stage name was stylized as 2Pac, and The Notorious B.I.G. (born Christopher Wallace) each have had three posthumous No. 1 sets, with Biggie’s three comprising his entire No. 1 output.  The Brooklyn legend’s iconic first album, Ready to Die, peaked at No. 15 in 1994, before he blew up to superstar status.

2pac, on the other hand, had two No. 1 albums before he died, to go along with the three subsequent chart-topping releases. 

Smoke’s album would be the first posthumous No. 1 album by a solo act since Juice WRLD’s Legends Never Die last July, and it would be the 21st posthumous No. 1 album overall, with more than half (13) occurring in the 21st century.  Sadly, seven of those 13 are by rappers, all of whom died before they turned 26.

It’s worth noting here that both 2Pac and Biggie are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with legacies that only grew in stature following their assassinations in 1996 and ‘97, respectively. 

Pop Smoke’s legacy has similarly grown after his February 2020 murder (during an alleged robbery attempt) with many now branding him the current King of New York hip-hop.

Don’t know if the folks in Biggie’s camp would be willing to relinquish the throne just yet, but Smoke is making a good case for his supremacy with chart figures like the ones he’s collecting now.

Will he ever match 2Pac and Biggie with a third posthumous No. 1?  Only time – and his catalogue of unreleased material – will tell.

Meanwhile, here’s the list of posthumous No. 1 albums by all artists, dating back to 1954 and the late big band leader, Glenn Miller.  *Pop Smoke’s Faith is based on projections for the chart dated July 31, 2021.

No. ArtistDate of DeathDate of posthumous No. 1Posthumous No. 1 title
1Glenn Miller12/15/194405/22/1954Glenn Miller Plays Selections from “The Glenn Miller Story”
2Janis Joplin 10/04/197002/27/1971Pearl
3Jim Croce09/20/197301/12/1974You Don’t Mess Around With Jim
4John Lennon12/08/198012/27/1980Double Fantasy
5Selena03/31/199508/05/1995Dreaming of You
62Pac09/13/199611/23/1996The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory – Makaveli
7The Notorious B.I.G.03/09/199704/12/1997Life After Death
8The Notorious B.I.G.03/09/199712/25/1999Born Again
92Pac09/13/199604/14/2001Until the End of Time
10Aaliyah 08/25/200109/15/2001Aaliyah 
11Elvis Presley 08/16/197710/12/2002ELV1S: 30#1 Hits
122Pac09/13/199601/01/2005Loyal to the Game
13Ray Charles06/10/200403/05/2005Genius Loves Company
14The Notorious B.I.G.03/09/199703/24/2007Greatest Hits
15Michael Jackson06/25/200911/14/2009This Is It
16David Bowie01/10/201601/30/2016Blackstar
17Prince04/21/201605/07/2016The Very Best of Prince
18XXXTentacion 06/18/201812/22/2018Skins
19Pop Smoke02/19/202007/18/2020Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon
20JuiceWRLD12/08/201907/25/2020Legends Never Die
21Pop Smoke02/19/202007/31/2021Faith*
Chart data based on Djrobblog’s research of the Billboard 200 album charts (* indicates a projection, actual data not available as of this posting).

DJRob

DJRob

DJRob (he/him) is a freelance music blogger from somewhere on the East Coast who covers R&B, hip-hop, pop and rock genres – plus lots of music news and current stuff!  You can follow him on Twitter at @djrobblog.

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