Widgets Magazine

‘Lil Pump’ is not worth your time

Lil Pump stars in the music video for his song ‘D Rose.’ (Courtesy of Lil Pump)

“Lil Pump,” the self-titled debut by 17-year-old South Floridian rapper Lil Pump, is a waste of your time. This is not to say that it’s a bad mixtape — it is, but that’s almost beside the point — but simply that there’s barely anything new here, nothing of note that hasn’t been done better and smarter by Pump’s trap predecessors and contemporaries.

Lil Pump’s only innovation is to do everything faster and dumber, creating a raw sort of punk rap that’s almost charismatic in its shamelessness and flaunting of the norms of the genre. It’s a shame that Pump seems almost disinterested in rapping, song construction or really anything at all. “Lil Pump” is perhaps the laziest mixtape of the year — of the mixtape’s 15 tracks, not a single one feels finished, with songs lurching into gear and ending equally arbitrarily without leaving much of an impact. This is disposable music, too lazy to even be catchy.

These flaws, and the inherent disposability “Lil Pump”’s particular lane of Soundcloud rap, could perhaps be ignored if the musician at the heart of the tape showed any signs of life. Music as raw and elementary as this lives and dies on the charisma of its performers, but after 36 minutes of “Lil Pump,” Lil Pump remains an entirely anonymous presence.

This isn’t even a criticism of Pump’s limited subject matter, which consists mostly of his Xanax use, his family’s Xanax use, the Xanax use of his crew, and so on — it’s a criticism of the complete lack of panache with which he talks about it. It’d be one thing if Pump took to drug rap with the skill shown in Pusha T’s cocaine monomania, or even the dominant sort of glee that Migos and Gucci Mane bring to their dope talk, but instead he has nothing to say. Across the 36 minutes of his debut mixtape, Lil Pump uses only 500 unique words, and he strings them together without joy or wit of any sort.

“D Rose,” one of Pump’s more popular songs on streaming platforms, feels less like a coherent rap and more like the world’s least inspired free association. He spends most of the track repeating, mantra-like, the phrases “80 on my wrist, 100 on my wrist” and “D Rose, D Rose, D Rose, D Rose,” but these hooks are, frankly, preferable to his verse, which sits, inert, at the center of the track. It’s not offensively bad, but it’s not anything else either. It simply isn’t there at all, a set of bars that fill time but nothing else.

The problem at the heart of Lil Pump’s music is that he, and by extension his music, is not as interesting as he thinks he is. This problem becomes all the more apparent on any of the mixtape’s tracks with guest verses. The roster here is fairly standard of pop trap stars — Gucci Mane, Rick Ross, 2 Chainz, etc. — but their phoned-in verses feel revelatory when compared to Pump’s nonexistent craft. When Gucci starts his verse on “Youngest Flexer” with, “Somebody please tell me where my money machine at/My money dirty, I’m tryna think of ways I can clean that,” the sort of drug kingpin couplet he’s done on hundreds of tracks before, it’s as if the fog has lifted from the Xanned-out haze in which the rest of the tape is mired. Even Lil Yachty, who has received much of the same criticism from older hip-hop fans that Pump is currently getting, sounds like Kendrick Lamar compared to the weak offering Pump brings to “Back.”

But the most damning thing about this whole tape is simply how unnecessary it is. Even if you’re just looking for fun music to turn up to, you can do so much better than this. Migos’ “Culture” is, of course, the gold standard for this years’ trap releases, but Lil Uzi Vert’s “Luv is Rage 2,” 21 Savage’s “Issa” and Playboi Carti’s self-titled tape all represent more interesting variants on Lil Pump’s punk-trap. Carti’s tape is perhaps the most similar to Pump’s — they’re both new artists that seem less concerned with structured raps than some of their peers and predecessors, but the sonic palette of just Carti’s breakout single, “Magnolia,” surpasses the beats of Pump’s entire tape.

In short, “Lil Pump” is nothing more than a half-hour of filler and first drafts, anchored by a Xanned-out teenager who doesn’t tell us anything interesting about himself or his world. There’s no reason to listen to it.

 

Contact Jacob Kuppermann at jkupperm ‘at’ stanford.edu.

About Jacob Kuppermann

Jacob Kuppermann writes about music for the Arts & Life Section of the Stanford Daily. He is currently undecided, both in regards to his major and towards the world as a whole, but enjoys biology, history, playing guitar & bass, and thinking about the Chainsmokers.
  • guccigang

    You are truly misguided if you think you are going to find any content in Lil Pump’s music. It’s simply fun music you can bump to. It’s almost laughable how simple and repetitive his music, which is why it shouldn’t be taken seriously in the first place. Lil Pump’s has a confidence and charisma that is simply unmatched, which is what makes it fun.

    One of your central criticisms “is not as interesting as he thinks he is”. You clearly don’t keep up with Lil Pump. Lil Pump has crashed a Porsche, incited a riot at his high school, and has a hilarious obsession with Miranda Cosgrove. All of this, and he isn’t even old enough to legally vote.

    Also, your implied criticism of Lil Pump’s Xanax use is disheartening. Lil Pump (real name Gazzy Garcia) grew up in the rough streets of Miami-Dade county, most likely in a single parent household (there is a lack of pictures of young Gazzy with a parent figure other than his mother). Many rappers hail from here (including Ski Mask, XXXTentacion, Smokepurpp) and follow the trend of using drugs like Xanax, often to cope with the rough lives they have. Their Xanax use is not a laughing matter. It is easy for you to sit on your high horse and criticize the drug-addicted masses, when in reality there is much more to the plight of the lower class. I am happy for Lil Pump as he was able to escape the life of poverty he was most likely destined to.

    Please think twice before criticizing the trapper of the century, you pseudo-intellectual.

  • Derrell J Battle

    “One of your central criticisms “is not as interesting as he thinks he
    is”. You clearly don’t keep up with Lil Pump. Lil Pump has crashed a
    Porsche, incited a riot at his high school, and has a hilarious
    obsession with Miranda Cosgrove. All of this, and he isn’t even old
    enough to legally vote.”

    Thats the problem HIS MUSIC IS NOT INTERESTING AS HE THINK HE IS…. we are not talking about his Antics outside of music, we are talking about MUSIC….

    I crank his music but i can admit HE SUCKS AT RAPPING, his music is just catchy n Thank Goodness for the beats.

    I rock with LIL Pump all day, thats my boy, he get money. But he lyrically sucks.

    He grew up in parts of Hialeah, Xanax use is not a laughing matter yet he gets a xanax bar cake for his BDAY.
    If Taking XANAX is bad, why doesnt lil pump say “i take xanax for stress” or what not? he just glorifies it.

  • Derrell J Battle

    And the author was criticizing the “Mixtape”, not just lil Pump.

  • Kcin

    This guy has no idea what music is

  • Abdulrahman Ateya

    Excuse you. Lil Pump is single-handedly saving the whole rap industry, if not the whole music industry, and if not that, the definitely the whole entire world. He is among the ranks of men like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, true men with the audacity to drop out of Harvard to change the world in some way, shape or form, and for some reason you can muster the strength inside you to attempt to disrespect a true artist just because they do not match the “turn-up-ability” of the likes of Migos and 21 Savage that you believe to be the superior artists as your sheepish writing attempts to convey. Dr. Pump, as you should be addressing him, is not looking to be accepted by fools of the likes of critics like you. In fact, I might even wish to point out the fact that you may be so impressed by the manhood of the doctor, as he dropped out of Harvard, and not Stanford. I prefer not to view this as East Coast/West Coast shenanigans, but rather I prefer to view it as a power struggle, the inability to fathom the extreme capabilities of superb lyricists like Dr. Pump and the production quality of his most oft-used accomplice Bighead. The meaning behind multi-layer lyrics such as 100 on my wrist / 80 on my wrist / 100 on my wrist / 80 on a brick is difficult to decipher for even the most educated lyricists of our time and age such Stanford’s own Cleo Condoravdi, and it will take centuries to fully understand the meanings behind these because everyone sees them in there own way. Take the art of people such as Vincent van Gogh. It was never popular until after he died.

    Lil Pump is the equivalent of a saint for music. Never truly considered one until after he has reached his destination.

    //none of this was meant to be offensive

  • Eskeeetit

    Lil Pump is a whole new genre that I consider Lit music that gets you hyped

  • matt burns

    i mean you’re the one writhing a review on pointless music and he’s making more money being a dumbass than you will ever make so lilpump-1 stanford daily guy-0

  • Robert Sutton

    All trap music is trash. Drugs are trash. Kids grow up listening to repetitive lines about selling and doing drugs it truly makes an impact on the individuals mind especially if they see someone they admire doing it just like their favorite rappers. Music like this is a pandemic just like drugs.

  • walt

    How is he any different than the chainsmokers??? They dont tell us anything interesting and repeat the same tired tropes…yet they make hits..that are enjoyable to listen to. That sound incredibly similar to Lil Pump….