Before becoming a star in his own right, and ushering in the Brooklyn drill scene to the mainstream, Pop Smoke himself was dealing with some legal troubles. According to the New York Post, the NYPD was hounding him heavily in the months leading to Pop Smoke's death. Apparently, they were pressing him to spill details on shootings in Brooklyn and intel on gang members.

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The rapper was initially grilled by NYPD after his arrest for a stolen Rolls-Royce, though this led to the agents asking the late rapper about information on a non-fatal shooting in June 2019. Investigators said that the rapper was seen driving a car in reverse near the crime scene. Of course, with a song like "Snitching" on his posthumous album, it doesn't take a brain surgeon to know where Pop stood on the topic of cooperating.

“Any conversation with Pop about cooperation was a very short one. It’s something he would never entertain doing,” Pop Smoke's lawyer Peter Frankel said. The police were trying to get Pop to provide information on members of Brooklyn's 823 Crips. Apparently, after Pop refused to give information to the police, that's when he was hit with a federal charge. Frankel said that this was likely done to put pressure on Pop Smoke to rat.

“They hoped the force of the federal indictment would persuade him to cooperate — meet and speak with them,” Frankel added. "It’s not uncommon for the federal government to become involved in an investigation when they believe that doing so will help them in a way a state court prosecution may not be able to do."