An Exercise in Genius Stupidity

David Chmielewski, age 16

There’s a new major force in hip-hop: mumble rap, a subgenre of rap that is characterized by songs with intense bases and little lyricism, performed by rappers with rowdy personalities. And if mumble rap were a feudal kingdom, Gazzy Garcia, more commonly known as the rapper Lil Pump, would be one of its most important lords. Pump released his first commercial album, the cleverly titled “Lil Pump,” in October of 2017. Now, much like most mumble rap, two things are true about “Lil Pump”: it is exceedingly stupid and yet, at the same time, worth listening to.

Lil Pump once tweeted, “I REALLY DID DROP OUT OF HARVARD TO SAVE THE RAP GAME.” Unfortunately, none of the genius that earned him Harvard acceptance shines through in his lyrics. If you’re the type of person who wants music that gives complex commentary on race, love or other intellectual topics, “Lil Pump” isn’t for you. If you instead happen to love songs with uncreative and repetitive verses about Pump’s wealth and fame, this is the perfect album for you. Perhaps no track exemplifies this more than the infamous “Gucci Gang,” where Pump repeats the phrase “Gucci gang” fifty-three times while bragging about his wealth.

That said, while the nutrition label on a jar of mayonnaise may be more clever than this album, it’s still an enjoyable listen. And therein lies the true genius of Lil Pump and other rappers of his ilk; their lyricism may not be amazing, but their tracks are downright fun. On “Lil Pump,” that shines through in the energy of the beats and delivery of every track. The song “Youngest Flexer” is a perfect example of this. Every line features Pump bragging about his ability to afford expensive brands, but the partnership of Pump’s passionate delivery and an energetic beat featuring laser noises and xylophones will make you incapable of getting the phrase “I’m the Youngest Flexer” out of your head. This trend continues on every track, with the repetition, catchy beats and Pump’s intense delivery combining to make songs that you will inevitably end up guiltily enjoying.

Ultimately, the jury for the Pulitzer for Music probably shouldn’t be putting “Lil Pump” on their shortlist anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean the album is inherently bad; it’s just the musical equivalent of a stupid action movie. Sometimes, it’s okay to set aside complex dramas and watch a brainless but enjoyable movie where the Rock jumps out of a helicopter as his muscles bulge. Similarly, sometimes you need to ignore the more artistic side of the music industry and listen to a teenager who claims he went to Harvard say “Gucci gang” fifty-three times.