As Pop Smoke‘s manager, it’s been a tough year for Steven Victor following the death of the Brooklyn rapper in February. In a new interview with Variety, the CEO of Victor Victor Worldwide spoke openly about Pop and compared his mindset to Kanye West, Pusha T and The-Dream — three other artists he’s worked during his time at G.O.O.D. Music and Def Jam Recordings.
“All these guys have a certain thing about them,” he said. “A couple things that manifested itself in a bunch of different ways but they all have very very similar traits when it comes to their passion, that look in their eyes, how they carry themselves, how they approach things. Very similar attributes to those guys.”
He continued, “His determination; his passion; his ability to listen, internalize and digest things. His ability to make decisions — that’s very important. Having an objective outlook on the things, being able to listen. He was 18 or 19 when I met him. Mostly 18 or 19-year-olds think they know more than they do, but he was like a sponge — super-wise beyond his years and a very caring and thoughtful person.”
Victor also talked about how close Pop’s posthumous album Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon was to being finished before his sudden passing, and the importance of piecing together his favorite sounds.
“I put the final touches on it,” he said. “It’s his vision that I helped piece together. A lot of times, I’d think about what he wanted: the way the album sounded. He always wanted to be a global artist and be able to make different colored music of all the different things that had an impact on him. He really loved R&B, Afrobeat, the drill sound, New York hip-hop. Putting all those things together and packaging it out, I’d think about the times we had together. Making sure that I put together something he’d be proud of.”
Speaking on how the loss has impacted him, Victor said, “I think about him everyday, all the time. I miss him. I think about all the times we had, the time we spent together. I think about him everyday multiple times a day.”
Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart for the week ending July 9, earning roughly 251,000 equivalent album units in the first week. Released on Victor Victor Worldwide/Republic Records, the project marked Pop’s first album to top the chart.
In July, Victor announced more projects from Pop will be released in the future, including a collaborative release between him and producers 808 Melo, AXL Beats and Rico Beats. He confirmed the news on Instagram when a fan asked him about the possibility of “more classics.”
“There will be,” he said. “Also a project pop, melo, axl & ricobeats were working on.”