By: Twumasi Duah-Mensah
s of April 25, 2018, South Florida rapper Gazzy Garcia, better known as Lil Pump, has 6.9 million subscribers on his YouTube channel, 11.2 million followers on his Instagram, over 900,000 Twitter followers, and a net worth of $6.5 million.
Yes, the same “Gucci Gang” rapper that repeated the song’s title 40 times in a video that got 653 million views.
Yes, the same rapper who said “D Rose” (the nickname of NBA basketball player Derrick Rose) 84 times, including 32 times in a row, in a song that lasts 135 seconds. It takes 0.3 seconds to say “D Rose.” That means 25 precious seconds are, therefore, dedicated to repeat the nickname.
Yes, the same rapper who dropped out of Harvard to save the rap game… or so he claims.
But how did Pump go from getting kicked off a WestJet plane for being too loud to having his own private jet? What makes this hilariously awful rapper so…famous? Why do people write that Pump is what is wrong with everything in the world, yet he is still one of the premier rappers of our time? I decided to write a formal inquiry investigating Mr. Garcia’s fame.
The inquiry is divided into five parts. Press Ctrl+F and copy and paste the title of a part you’re interested in reading:
Research Method and Process
Research Methods and Process
I listened to all of his songs and read some articles—so many researchers do some 5D intergalactic trigonometric calculus when they describe their methods in their papers. It’s not that complicated. Geez.
Note: If you’re confused on what an ad-lib is, too bad. I can’t link to any videos of ad-libs because the videos are too vulgar. Look it up for yourself. Viewer discretion advised.
- Ad-Libs – ESSKEETIT, Lil Pump, Brrrrt, Huh, Ouu, Yeah—Generally, a lot of them are at the beginning of the song.
- Average length of his songs is 2 minutes and 26 seconds.
- When he says “Lil Pump,” it sounds much like Lil Yachty’s “Lil Boat” ad-lib.
- Recurring Themes in His Songs
- He’s up next
- The Youngest Flexin’
- Foreign Girls and Cars
- Diamonds on his wrist
- “Hunnid on his wrist”
- Impervious to criticism due to aforementioned “hunnids on his wrist”
- Flex like ouu
- Has mentioned that he feels like Superman in two separate songs
- Diamonds so yellow they look like urine
- Spent 10 racks on something
Lil Pump’s apparent materialism in his big songs (especially “Gucci Gang”) is not the usual rapper’s shoutout to a brand. It’s obsessive. Young teens, however, don’t mind it. In fact, they like it. They think it’s cool. It’s something to aspire to. It’s a mark of success to wear overpriced clothing and keep making bank.
For many poor kids, spending money unwisely is asking to starve to death. Therefore, Lil Pump’s Gucci obsession makes him look like an unstoppable beast if he can still bring in a literal truckload of cash in his music videos. He appeals to the imagination of young teenagers struggling in high school. He’s a great distraction from the real world because his success shouldn’t exist.
As for those angered by Pump’s materialism, his display of cash in his “ESSKEETIT” music video and seemingly unstoppable vibe force them to accept that he doesn’t care. For the most part, he doesn’t even need to address the haters. He’s making bank, and you’re not. And he’s only 17 years old, so deal with it.
Pump is so hilariously bad that he is a walking meme. If you search up a Lil Pump song on YouTube, you will find many “Lil Pump But…” videos that rake in many views. This prompts those who delight in the memes to listen to the actual song.
If someone who watches the memes doesn’t listen to the song, he/she may still share the meme with his/her friends who may—whether by text, in real life, or over social media. Eventually, you may be waiting for a new song from Lil Pump to drop just for the memes. This increases his popularity and constantly brings in potential new viewers.
He also doesn’t take himself too seriously. Like other rappers, he focuses on bragging about his riche. Unlike other rappers, he doesn’t rap about how he truly commits the crimes and violence that rappers talk about. This is much more silly and lighthearted, giving him much less to prove when rapping. Because he’s not your average rapper and doesn’t take himself seriously, Pump sounds like he has created something new (albeit something very mind-numbing). The bar is very low for Pump.
His Use of Social Media
Pump has used his Instagram and Twitter to spread more memes about himself such as dropping out of Harvard to save the rap game and his interest in Miranda Cosgrove. This further pushes memes about the teenage rapper, becoming intriguing and somewhat charming to anyone who hears about his spectacles.
You Will Remember Him
The most noticeable thing about Pump besides his colored dreads is how repetitive his choruses are. His songs are judged not on the quality of his rapping, but on how memorable his songs are, which are judged for how many times he repeats common themes in his songs, how catchy his songs are, and how funny they are. Memorization is not determined by the beat, either.
Everything in Pump’s songs makes you want to listen again or to another, whether you want to admit it or not. The average length of his songs is two minutes and 26 seconds. The themes that he constantly mentions in his songs (e.g. flexin like ouu, the youngest flexin’, hunnid on his wrist) remind you of another song and make you want to listen to that other song again. It’s addictive. It’s an earworm.
Even his “up next” theme (in which he claims that he’s the next biggest rapper) insinuates the idea that his songs are up next in your life (i.e. you’ll listen to them next). They’re funny, memeable, and short. The beat is also pretty good, so you might as well listen again or listen to another.
Whether he or his advisors have devised such a marketing scheme is a question I wouldn’t know the answer to. All I know is how to analyze esoteric meme subculture.
Lil Pump is hated in the real rap world. He’s famous for no reason, his rapping is nowhere near clever, he has dissed J. Cole for no reason, and his most popular ad-lib, “ESSKEETIT,” is a modification of an ad-lib popular among Chicago rappers (the use of which has angered several Chicago-based rappers).
But the 17-year-old Miami rapper has tapped into something so strong that even his most ardent opponents bow down to his will: the art of the meme.
Pump’s mastery of the meme appeals to a much larger market compared to what most rappers tap into. Whether he repeats a nickname 32 times in a row, records a music video in a Catholic elementary school, or drops out of Harvard to save the rap game, Lil Pump’s wizardry transcends society in ways no one has ever seen before.