By Josh Weiner
Fresh off reaching legal adult status on Aug. 17, Lil Pump has plenty of new opportunities to pursue. But even before his 18th birthday, the Florida MC had already done his fair share of horizon-chasing, with multiple payoffs to show for it.
The youngster born, Gazzy Garcia, was not particularly active in hip-hop until age 16, when (as described in an interview with XXL) his fellow Miami native, Smokepurpp, nagged him into attempting a freestyle at a studio session. This trial immediately proved to be infectious. Tapping into online resources such as SoundCloud allowed Lil Pump to “[tear] through hip-hop like a tornado, amassing over 2 billion audio and video streams and counting.”
Some of the songs that most contributed to his preliminary success include “D-Rose”– a homage to the occasionally-brilliant, more-occasionally grievously injured point guard– and “Gucci Gang,” which rose to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 last year, and has earned a staggering 770 million views on YouTube. Critics were divided on the merits of these early tracks– it “sits right on the knife’s edge between awesome and annoying,” SPIN wrote of this “manic little song” called “Gucci Gang.”
Yet as his online profile continues to rise, Lil Pump has earned his first grasps of mainstream exposure. In 2017, he achieved his first major-label contract with Warner Bros. Record, and released his self-titled debut with them as well. Earlier this year, he made his first nationwide TV appearance when he performed on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
XXL included him in their coveted Freshman Class of 2018, declaring him to be “one of the leading men in the SoundCloud rap scene,” and praised the “exuberance and disarming charisma” which characterizes him music.
On the heels of this hot run, Lil Pump has positioned himself for a massive autumn. His new mixtape, Harvard Dropout, shouldn’t take long to emerge, and he will embark on a 28-date tour in promotion of the new release beginning in late September. He’s also made a good number of positive gestures lately, from settling his brief feud with J. Cole to inviting the mother of slain rapper XXXTentacion on stage with him at Miami’s Lit Up Festival.
“I want to be the biggest thing that’s out, because I’m different from everybody,” Lil Pump has expressed. “I don’t sound like nobody. The route that I’m going through it’s going to be crazy. And this is only the beginning; I didn’t fully blow up yet.”
Lil Pump has certainly succeeded in making a distinct image for himself, and his production and choices of featured artists are already commendable. With improved lyricism and stronger thematic content, the Miami teenager may well achieve the blowing-up he envisions, and so desires.