Brooklyn-born rapper Pop Smoke may have been shot dead over his ties to the Crips — with the killing appearing to be a targeted hit, according to reports Thursday.
The “Welcome to the Party” star was initially assumed to be the tragic victim of a robbery gone wrong after four masked men stormed a Los Angeles house party in the early hours Wednesday.
That theory emerged in part because the star, dripping in jewelry and Louis Vuitton, had posted an Instagram photo of a friend holding a huge stack of cash — while also posting a package that showed the address for the Hollywood Hills home where he was staying.
But people who have seen surveillance of the attackers’ raid believe it was actually a hit job — saying the killers left empty-handed, according to TMZ, which described it as a “targeted hit.”
The rapper was also tied to the Crips, with detectives treating the slaying as a gang-related homicide, the Los Angeles Times said.
Detectives believe the attackers are also likely gang members, but have yet to determine if the killing was motivated by gang rivalry, officials told the paper.
“There is a lot of information available,” LAPD Capt. Jonathan Tippet told the paper. “We have some work to do.”
Surveillance footage shows three of the men walk back to the side of the house, with the fourth seemingly going in the back door, where there were no cameras to catch him, TMZ said.
When he leaves from the front door, the man — assumed to be the shooter — does not appear to be carrying anything, people who saw the footage told the site.
Sources told TMZ it defied belief that robbers would shoot someone and then not take the time to steal what they came for.
The rapper — real name Bashar Barakah Jackson — was shot multiple times and pronounced dead at nearby Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
Pop Smoke was perhaps best known during his short career for the 2019 single “Welcome to the Party,” which invokes gun violence. A remix featured rapper Nicki Minaj, who posted a picture of Pop Smoke on her Instagram account after news of the murder became public.
“The Bible tells us that jealousy is as cruel as the grave. Unbelievable. Rest In Peace, Pop,” Minaj said in the post.
Queens-bred rapper 50 Cent was among many of those posting tributes.
“No such thing as success with out jealousy, treachery comes from those who are close. R.i.P,” he wrote alongside a photo of the pair together.