1:20 PM PT -- The friend who was hanging with Pop Smoke and photographed with him hours before he was killed, Mike Dee, has spoken out about the tragedy ... saying nothing can express the pain he's feeling, and addressing unfounded speculation about what happened.
Mike says ... "I just lost my f***ing brother, my heart my dawgz. You guys have no type of sense or sympathy! Yall don't kno whats going on yall come on here playing investigator and bashing me on the internet, I would never in my life set my brother up."
He concludes with a message for Pop, saying ... "Just kno I got you forever brother the truth will come to light until then sleep in peace."
9:41 AM PT -- Sources familiar with the surveillance video tell TMZ ... the video shows at least 4 masked men with hoodies making their way into the house just 10 minutes after people inside the house deadbolted the front doors shut. We're told they did not turn the house alarm on, which made it easier for the home invaders to get inside.
And, there's this ... Pop Smoke posted the address of the home earlier in the day. He was showing off gift bags he had received and one had the home's address. As for why he was getting gift bags ... his mix tape hit #7 on the Billboard 200 chart Tuesday.
8:03 AM PT -- Just hours before he was gunned down, Pop Smoke mugged with a pal in a car -- the friend holding a fortune in bills -- in the driveway of the home where he was shot.
7:32 AM PT -- Law enforcement sources tell us there was a party or gathering at the house prior to the shooting. It's unclear what motive the shooters had in showing up at the house.
7:08 AM PT -- Nicki Minaj just posted a message about his death ... "The Bible tells us that jealousy is as cruel as the grave. Unbelievable. Rest in Peace, Pop."
6:56 AM PT -- The home is owned by 'RHOBH' star Teddi Mellencamp and her husband, Edwin Arroyave, who owns several homes in Los Angeles. It's possible Pop Smoke was renting the property.
Pop Smoke, an up-and-coming rapper, was shot and killed Wednesday morning in what appears to be a home invasion robbery ... TMZ has learned.
The rapper was at a home in the Hollywood Hills at around 4:30 AM when 2 men wearing hoodies and masks broke into a house ... this according to law enforcement sources. We're told the 2 men fired multiple shots, striking and critically wounding Pop Smoke. The men were seen fleeing on foot.
Pop Smoke was rushed by ambulance to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in West Hollywood where he was pronounced dead.
The suspects have not been caught and as far as we know they have not been identified. It's unclear if Pop Smoke knew the shooters. One man was placed in handcuffs but cops determined he was not involved and was released.
Pop Smoke released an album back in July and one of the songs, "Welcome to the Party," blew up ... it was considered by many the song of the summer. Nicki Minaj did a remix of the song a few months later. He also did a song, "Gatti," with Travis Scott.
We got Pop Smoke out at LAX back in July, and he told us about a hoop dream that came true.
Pop Smoke was 20.
Originally Published -- 6:25 AM PT