If anyone had any doubts about Pop Smoke after his first tape, Meet The Woo Vol. 2 arrived to completely disprove them. This project is somehow more concise and exciting than the last, thanks to a broader set of instrumentals and feature list. Pop Smoke doesn’t lose his rawness, but the instrumentals feel lighter than the last. The sound strays from UK Drill into its own, becoming more unique.
The flow of the tape for the first seven songs is flawless. “Invincible” immediately drops you in with these strings, and Pop referencing lyrics from his previous effort. As soon as one song ends, there’s no outro. It’s immediately on to the next, making every song feel like they’re intensifying.
Possibly the best transition we have is from “Foreigner” to “Sweetheart.” Pop Smoke is rightfully strong on the track, flexing his women on the listener, but the surprise on this one is from A Boogie wit da Hoodie. A Boogie may be a NY native, but his foray into NY drill is scarce. However on this track he fits perfectly, flexing his Richard Mille and signature style of singing working wondrously.
As soon as that track is over, its on to the next. Almost as if it was planned, “Sweetheart” features a similar sounding synth that feels like it escalates from the last song. Pop Smoke sings on this one, but in those loose autotuned voice. Pop would sing on later tracks on the next album, but this is first time we hear him really break out those chops. Cohort Fivio’s natural talent of sounding as hype as possible shines on this track, especially the drop in his performance where he says:
As wild a ride as this ride tries to take you on, “Element” doesn’t let off the gas but it does switch lanes. Moving from the drill sounds, this song takes to a more regular NY bounce with these grandiose strings. This song feels like the ultimate flex, showing his love for women and parties. There’s this iconic moment where the instrumental drops out to make way for his snapping and distinctive growl.
Even though the highlight of the album lays within the first seven tracks, the album still remains an exciting experience for the rest of the album. “Armed N Dangerous” is a freestyled track done for Charlie Sloth. He goes over a UK Drill beat used by rapper Headie One, but this track just so happened to be produced by his very own producer. The track shows the shared similarities between the two genres and how Pop was effortless at adapting styles.
On “Mannequin,” the track is memorable specifically for the usage of its Ariana Grande sample. While years later the genre would take to using more and more samples, the genre at the time had barely used them. The focus of the track isn’t on the Ariana sample either, its used more to add a bit of flair to the track. Lil Tjay is also featured on the track in one of his more tolerable performances.
It all comes together on the final two tracks, “Dreaming” feels just as it name implies. The instrumental feels dreamlike and Pop’s talks about the feeling of his drug high take you up with him. Outro “She Got A Thing” feels the lightest here, his autotuned melodies loom in the background providing depth to the track and a flourishing outro to end it all. “Dior” & “War” are tacked on as bonus tracks, but considering how great the tracks are, its not a waste.
Meet The Woo Vol. 1 showed Pop in his rawest form, but its sequel shows him refining his craft. Vol. 2 is a relentless but seamless listen, getting more daring with his voice & style changes on this one than the previous. This album was proof that he was only getting started, the star-studded feature list also showed that he would be a mainstay in hip hop for years to come. His follow-up to this album would feature a more mainstream sound, but his strength always lied in the Drill sound. While it would’ve been nice to see more of it, what we got at the time was incredible & will be remembered for years to come.