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From SoundCloud to Charting at #2, Lil Pump Bumps

By Peter Ntourntourekas; For the Clock
On October 21, 2017

Ten years ago, the notion of getting famous by going viral online was a ridiculous one. Parents laughed at children dreaming of internet fame, and told them to tone down expectations lest they get their hearts broken by a brutal entertainment industry. Kids like that became the Casey Neistats of the world, innovating on the ever-changing list of media platforms easily available online.

SoundCloud is a song sharing website where artists upload their newest tracks and hope that the lurking audience will lend criticism and a quick “thumb up.” The community on websites like Soundcloud, or YouTube, where creators are put in charge of their own content, can have an explosive, hivemind, viral effect on artists that are deemed “worthy.” One artist, known only as Lil Pump, is apparently one of those worthy.

 A couple years ago, Lil Pump was following his high school friend Omar, known as Smokepurpp, on small local rap tours. Only one year ago, according to his sparse SoundCloud page, Lil Pump uploaded some of his first tracks. They aren’t very special. Most of the early Lil Pump catalogue sounds like every other SoundCloud rapper a la XXXtentacion: bass heavy, repetitive and not incredibly thought provoking. Through some miracle of a combined legendary Twitter presence and sheer luck, Lil Pump exploded onto the Soundcloud rap scene, and recently released his first major mixtape.

Lil Pump’s self-titled mixtape does one thing only, but it does that one thing miraculously well. It bumps. I mean, it kind of has to in order to get Chief Keef and Gucci Mane features.

Listening to this album, you will not find the lyricism of Kendrick Lamar or J. Cole. Lil Pump’s lyrics are simple and repetitive, sometimes repeating the same bar three or four times before retiring it for the verse. Phrases like “jump in this b***h and go crazy, ooh (x8)” will get stuck in your head, and you might hate yourself for it. That being said, and I’d like to reiterate, it bumps.

There will probably not be a moment where you will think to yourself, “Wow, this Lil Peep track has such an interesting use of time signatures and unique rhythms,” because there really aren’t any. You play a track, and one of two things will happen: Your subwoofer rattles across the floor and Lil Pump yells about his big watch or how many girls like him, or your subwoofer rattles across the floor and Lil Peep speaks quite loudly, but doesn’t quite yell, about his big watch and how many girls have hurt him. There is one thing that stays constant here, and it’s how hard this mixtape actually goes.

I don’t consider myself to be an “oldhead” when it comes to rap music, but I do appreciate some lyricism or unique production here and there. When it comes to what may well be the most popular genre of music right now, I can’t ever complain about diversity, and I didn’t really think Lil Pump had any until I found myself restarting the tape for another listen. I kept thinking that I didn’t like this album, and then, I hit repeat for the third, fourth, and fifth times. Lil Peep goes hard, and he does it for fifteen tracks. I couldn’t stop.

The mixtape starts easy enough, with a fairly innocuous opener, with a Smokepurpp feature. Midi piano clanks around until the bass kicks in only twenty seconds into the track. It is here that Lil Pump finds his wheelhouse--or the trap house, rather. By the time you get around to the sixth track, and one of the viral singles released before the mixtape as a whole, D Rose, you’re fully immersed in the low equalization and head bobbing goodness of Lil Pump.

There’s lots of value in the character of Lil Pump, and that’s where some of this rambunctious atmosphere comes from. Half of these songs invite you to imagine his pink and blonde dreads flopping around on stage. The 808-style sampled high hats sound like how flashing lights at a rave look. It quickly becomes a challenge to not move around and become entranced in the skull-shaking beats while Lil Pump is shouting rhymes at you.

It’s grimy, and it’s kind of abrasive. It’s like satiating something that you didn’t even know you were hungry for. It doesn’t need to be intellectually challenging, or especially provocative. This mixtape is something you put on shuffle before jumping onto a table and losing your cool in the coolest way possible.

So, crank up your subwoofer, invite a bunch of friends over, and go crazy for a little bit. Before you know it, the AOL Instant Messenger ping-esque drop of Boss will hit for the fifth time of the night, and you’ll have to stumble back to your dorm, because it’s suddenly three a.m., and you have homework. Lil Pump is a hit or miss for most listeners, but you might owe it to yourself to give it a try.

Score: 7/10

Best Tracks: “Crazy,” “D Rose,” “Boss”

Worst Tracks: “At the Door,” “Iced Out”

Listen to the mixtape here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2lkoDCO8U0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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