The Rickety Old Shack

Lil Pump — Lil Pump

album cover

Closing out a banner year for so-called "cloud rappers," Lil Pump drops a self-titled mixtape full of the sort of modern trap music you would expect from one of the countless Lil ___ rappers out in the wild. Without hearing a single note, I expected a mixture of mumble rap, verses with aenemic word counts, egregiously auto-tuned singing, more drugs than a pharmacy, and some infectious trap beats. Lil Pump manages to live up to those expectations, except for the singing — we are mercifully spared any pitch-corrected quasi-crooning — and still distinguish himself in a growing field of similar performers. There isn't a lot of variety in the subject matter, but Lil Pump manages to stick in your head through a mixture of heavy repetition and short, easily digested material. Above all else, this project keeps things simple and very stupid.

Lyrically, this album is a barren wasteland. Lil Pump's flow is as simple and basic as it is oddly compelling; the bulk of the lyrics on Lil Pump are repeated ad nauseam. The clearest example of this is the breakout single, "Gucci Gang," which repeats the title 9 times in lieu of a chorus. Like many of the songs on this release, "Gucci Gang" runs just a little over 2 minutes in length. This material is extremely efficient, waylaying the listener with thumping beats and ridiculous raps, and rarely overstaying its welcome. At face value, this record should be universally maligned as unlistenable trash, but Lil Pump exudes a perturbing charisma that makes this album an experience as stupid as it is enjoyable. When he's not name-dropping designer clothing lines or bragging about sexual conquests, you get some amusing lines such as "I'm chopping a brick like I know karate," which I can't help but be entertained by.

Some of these songs seem rough and unfinished; "D Rose" is largely incoherent filler and could have been cut. "Boss" and "Flex Like Ouu" are fairly unremarkable and aren't even 2 minutes in length. The final track, "Pinky Ring," is one of the weaker includes, and Rick Ross — a rapper I've never really enjoyed, merely tolerated as a guest feature on other projects — delivering a really generic verse. Fellow newcomer, Smokepurpp appears on 3 tracks and acquits himself well, like the rest of the features he does a good job breaking up Lil Pump's verses. There are a number of guest features, including 2 Chainz, Gucci Mane and Lil Yachty, which manage to keep Lil Pump's limited capabilities from being overly exposed. There are no profound insights laid down on any of these verses, the subject matter is confined to drugs, money, and sex — all tried-and-true motifs — and it's the instrumentals that hold these tracks together, but it's still a very fun batch of songs.

Production-wise, Lil Pump is uneven but otherwise enjoyable. Lil Pump is another illustration of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts; no single aspect of these tracks is exceptional, but in their combination there is an appeal. Lil Pump is extremely one-dimensional, so future material is going to need to show some sort of evolution or risk burning out quickly. For a mixtape, a collection of sundry Internet singles, Lil Pump is quite good; this project is stupid fun, and I am curious to see where Lil Pump goes from here — this kind of material makes for 1-2 albums at the very most, before it becomes played out and listeners move on to the next thing. I didn't expect to like this at all, and came away pleasantly surprised; this is just some fun music that should not be taken too seriously under any circumstances.

Summary

SoundCloud sensation Lil Pump drops a debut mixtape containing 15 tracks of minimalistic, infectiously catchy trap music. Despite hinging on a lot of genre clichés, this project delivers a collection of songs greater than the sum of its parts. The beats are well produced and Lil Pump presents himself as a unique character in a niche genre, with the charisma to make some really stupid material work better than it has any right to.

Album Information

Release date: October 6th, 2017
Record label: Warner Brothers Records

Lil Pump — vocals
Faded Blackid — producer (track 1)
Trapphones — co-producer (track 1)
Bighead — producer (tracks 2, 4, 7, 8, 10, 11)
Gnealz — producer (track 2)
Ronny J — producer (tracks 3, 11, 14)
Mr. 2-17 — producer (tracks 5, 12)
Terrotuga — producer (track 6)
CBMix — producer (track 7)
TM88 — producer (track 9)
Captain Crunch — co-producer (track 10)
Diablo — producer (track 13)
Danny Wolf — producer (track 14)
Frank Dukes — co-producer (track 14)
Illa da Producer — producer (track 15)

Track Listing

  1. What You Gotta Say (feat. Smokepurpp)
  2. Gucci Gang
  3. Smoke My Dope (feat. Smokepurpp)
  4. Crazy
  5. Back (feat. Lil Yachty)
  6. D Rose
  7. At The Door
  8. Youngest Flexer (feat. Gucci Mane)
  9. Foreign
  10. Whitney (feat. Chief Keef)
  11. Molly
  12. Iced Out (feat. 2 Chainz)
  13. Boss
  14. Flex Like Ouu
  15. Pinky Ring (feat. Rick Ross and Smokepurpp)

—by Derek

Published: January 24th, 2018.