Lil Pump – A Review

By Andrew Ho

Internet meme and sensation Lil’ Pump has just released his first full-length studio album in late October of 2017. But as it is only 36 minutes in length, it just qualifies as a full-length album. The self titled work features many of his prior SoundCloud releases along with other new recordings. This alone is amazing for a teenager, so props to him! He has also managed to pull together a feature list of respectable artists beyond his childhood friend and frequent collaborator Smokepurpp: an almost irrelevant 2Chainz, an asthmatic sounding Rick Ross, and even a new and improved Gucci Mane all appear on his debut release. Yet, even with the support from big-name artists and skilled producers, it is still undeniable that Lil’ Pump still has a long way to go before he will garner the respect from the industry he ultimately deserves.

If you’re into memes with excessive audio distortion or 15 consecutive hype up tracks suitable for a pre-drinking event with lyrics that are chantable and memorizable even for the most intoxicated of days, then Lil’ Pump really has something going for you. He is loud even when you have the volume turned down (which is an astonishing feat on its own), shameless, and undeniably full of energy and bravado. Perhaps this, in part, has to do with his age, but unfortunately, he is still quick to dismiss the progress his fellow SoundCloud lineup has recently done for hip-hop. Whereas artists like Playboy Carti, Lil Peep (god bless his soul), and even convicted felon XXXTentacion have repeatedly pushed the limits of where hip-hop lies, Lil’ Pump over glorifies the now. He is proficient at not only conglomerating but also over-exaggerating all of the catchiest traits of the status quo. Ultimately, Lil’ Pump is no Kanye and couldn’t care less about art. Instead, he is eager to sing about his ludicrously expensive watches ($100K on his wrist), his oversized chain, his lack of respect for any company (WestJet in particular), his lean, his youth, and his trigger happy antics. He’s proud that he’d rather spend on Balmains than his partners, but again, what more could one expect from a teenager?

It is unfortunate that his immaturity as a lyricist seeps through into his performance; he finds himself having difficulty saying anything of substance and resorts to chanting the chorus to fill up what would otherwise be silence. Take the track Crazy, one that lasts 2 minutes and 5 seconds, or a whole 125 seconds. Out of that, he is chanting “Jump in this bitch and go crazy” for a whole 53 seconds. That’s 42% of the track where he is just chanting his chorus! On the following track, Back, Pump does much of the same where 50% of the time he is chanting “Throw it back, yeah”. Even when given a verse, he is outdone by his feature Lil’ Yatchy as Pump ends up struggling and doubling up his rhymes instead:

 

In the kitchen whippin’ up babies, ooh

In the kitchen whippin’ up babies, yeah

And I got a bitch named Hailey, huh

And I got a bitch named Hailey (brr)

 

Lil’ Pump defines what it means to be a SoundCloud rapper by bringing together all of the hottest hip hop trends: Lil Uzi Vert’s and Yatchy’s hair, cartoon-y album covers, the most potent narcotics, and even down to their hooks. Where he lacks in lyricism, he makes up for with his ad libs. His oohs, okays, ayys, brrs, and whats are undeniably catchy and at times, outright comical. He is a genius when it comes to these tricks. Take, for example, a line out of D Rose, a track originally off his SoundCloud account and later worked into Lil’ Pump. He raps:

 

I just fucked your bitch (what?)

I just broke my wrist (okay)

I just fucked your bitch (ooh)

I just fucked your bitch (okay)

 

His creative wisdom shows itself in his ability to develop a plot mid-verse (a comedic one at that) by toying with call-and-response all by himself. Like this, he is able to keep his audience entertained even with his lacking lyricism, although it does ultimately call for excellent collaboration between him, producer, and sound engineer.

Perhaps it is these traits which make artists like Lil’ Pump attractive to major game-changers like Gucci Mane who is apparently eager to part with $8 Million for him. As Pitchfork mentions, his punk-esque attitude, his incredible work ethics, and his marketing talents make him shine brightly amongst a sea of mediocre rappers. If this is truly the case, Gucci would have to come up with a roadmap to success to bring out the Iggy Pop in him or suffer the fate of being labelled a sell out to the hip-hop community for drooling over a cash grab. Likewise, this would be detrimental to Gucci’s own comeback to the game as the last thing he would want is to be remembered for glorifying the now and overlooking other artists with more potential and that live off more than just a meme.