Out of morbid curiosity, I decided to check out Lil Pump’s self-titled debut mixtape. Since Fantano was bigging up the mixtape so much, I decided to give it a shot. As expected, listening to this album felt like being bound, gagged, and waterboarded all at once. The average length of each song was two minute and I couldn’t get through most of them. To be honest, I haven’t finished listening to the project, and I don’t plan to.
Lil Pump is the epitome of trash. The beats’ arpeggiated melodies are annoying, Pump’s delivery though energetic is atrocious, and the overall soundscape (based on what I heard) is just monotonous. Speaking of monotony, there’s nothing worse than Pump’s simplistic, repetitious lyrics.
Remember that study done on rappers’ vocabularies? If the study was done in 2017, Pump would definitely have the lowest vocabulary. Of the eight or so songs I listened to, half of them not in full, I could probably count Pump only using thirty words. And what makes it worse is the lazy, nihilistic nature of his subject matter.
Though the repetitive nature of Pump’s lyrics on this mixtape really bugged me, it made me think about the use of repetition in lyricism. Inherently, I don’t think repetition is bad. In fact, I think repetition is a great literary and rhetorical device. Many great orators in the history of humanity have used repetition to emphasize their point. Martin Luther King, Jr., for example, repeated the phase “I have a dream” six times in his most famous speech.
In the realm of music, many great lyricist have used repetition to emphasize important lyrics. Morrissey, one of my favorite lyricists of all time, defined his lyrical style by using repetition to catch the listeners’ attention.
Specifically in hip hop, repetition has been used to either create a catchy chorus or emphasize important lyrics.
An example of the former case is Keith Murray’s “The Most Beautifulest Thing in This World,” which features a chorus which repeats a two bars phrase four times. By repeating that two-bar phrase, Keith creates a chorus that doesn’t get out of your head.
An example of the latter case, and maybe an extreme example, is A Tribe Called Quest’s “Sucka N****,” which features two identical verses performed by Q-Tip, whose intention is to educate his listeners about the history of the horrific word. By repeating his entire verse, Q-Tip emphasize his history lesson.
By these criteria, Pump may have created a catchy chorus (which in my opinion is super annoying), but is “Gucci Gang” a phrase that needs to be repeated ad nauseam, especially when this song doesn’t focus on Pump’s love for Gucci?
Overall, the problem with repetition in Pump’s lyrics is that it makes him come off lazy, uncreative, and unintelligent. There isn’t really a point to it, and the songs I did hear on his mixtape feature this technique.
Maybe I’m just speaking for myself, but to me a good project features a diversity of lyricism, instrumentation, and moods. And Lil Pump has a lack of diversity that’s worst than the city of Tokyo, especially with his lyrics. And with that, I’m never letting my morbid curiosity get the better of me ever again.