Liz Foster ’22
When South Florida trapper Lil Pump dropped his self titled debut in 2017, I liked it more than anyone who claims good taste ever should have. There was something infectious and firey in his flows, the slew of producers and features he used worked nicely, and his lyricism, though lacking complexity, was fun and rappable. In short, I fucking loved Lil Pump. I’ve always made a fight for Lil Pump’s place in the industry. He plays the role he was meant to and does it better than any of his genre companions. He’s stupid, somewhat self aware, and completely memeable. Beyond any of his competitors, he fulfills the space for empty minded, bass boosting, completely idiotic rap. Before “Gucci Gang” propelled him to stardom, Pump was more of a Twitter meme than a legitimate rapper. Some may argue he’s still not a legitimate rapper, but he boasts multiple platinum songs and a net worth over six million dollars.
Harverd Dropout is the long awaited, heavily delayed second full length from Lil Pump. The promotional singles for the album have been rolling out since April of 2018 when “Esskeetit” debuted mediocrely on the charts, but has since gained over 150 million streams. The song is second to “Welcome to the Party” in its quintessential “Lil Pump”-ness. It’s repetitive, catchy, and brag heavy. Lil Pump is having sex with countless women, popping more MDMA than one probably should, and making so much money. He uses his signature “Esskeetit” to remind the listener just how essential he’s become to the culture. The catchphrase has appeared on many of his songs and frequently finds itself in the mouths of frat boys and fellow rappers alike. The song is a banger with looping, bopping instrumentals and Pump’s chiming yells.
“Drop Out” opens Harverd Dropout as Lil Pump brags about, you guessed it, dropping out and then getting rich. He trashes his teachers, flashes his wealth, and I’m perfectly okay with it. The track is produced by one of Pump’s right hand producers: Diablo. This duo usually produces some of Pump’s best work. Diablo described his production as “that style of very bass heavy and also sometimes repetitive” in a recent interview with Complex. The two have an unusual chemistry that has resulted in platinum bangers like “BOSS.” Diablo reappears throughout the album, notably on the monotonous “Racks on Racks” that nonetheless serves an earworm.
Harverd Dropout’s other singles range from mediocre to bangers. The controversial “Butterfly Doors” feels too long even though it’s barely over two minutes, but the chorus is nonetheless captivating. “Drug Addicts,” an older single that featured Charlie Sheen on its artwork and in its music video, is a snappy, but forgettable bop that exists for the drug induced stupors the song tries to brag about.
The Smokepurpp feature on “ION” showcases the Gucci Gang duo’s strengths, accompanied with Diablo’s signature production. Purpp offers a more channeled, at times arguably serious, version of what Pump provides. His trappy bars dance over the Diablo produced bass to provide the South Florida sound we’ve come to expect since the area’s recent boom of rappers in the late 2010s. Lil Wayne pops onto “Be Like Me,” which sounds oddly reminiscent of an earlier promo single, the viral sensation “I Love It” that featured semi-controversial industry figure Kanye West. “I Love It” was a commercial success and interesting collaboration, but a generally unremarkable track. In terms of features, “Be Like Me” has more whimsy and spirit than Kanye’s rambling sex references.
“Multi Millionaire” with rap’s latest retiree, Lil Uzi Vert, reminds us all why Uzi should never leave the industry. He jumps onto the track with Pump, stealing the show with his flashy, vocalized charm. “Fasho Fasho” and “Iced Out” both feature Migos’ members and are fun, energetic tracks with delicate piano melodies. Quavo’s appearance is just a bit more exciting, and “Iced Out” is ultimately a better song. Rounding out the features is “Stripper Name” with YG and 2 Chainz, and the production feels very 2 Chainz. The guests both nail their verses and Pump’s drowsy lines are both funny and true to character.
Even in his flaws, Lil Pump executes what rappers like Comethazine are failing to do. His stupid, dynamic flow jump over the 8-bit, bass heavy beats. The album is rife with unnecessary tracks, but its strengths balance out like a perfect scale. There’s a self aware combination of stupidity, flashy bars, and energizing production that creates a wholly “Lil Pump” sensation to the LP. While this sophomore feat feels like more of a freshman body of work, there’s an irresistible quality to Harverd Dropout’s stupidity that serves as a reminder of= how Lil Pump got so far in the first place.