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I love bad reviews. They’re hilarious. It’s perverse but seeing somebody get absolutely demolished in a review really cracks me up. Take Pete Wells’ legendary 2012 New York Times review of Guy Fieri’s Times Square location. It’s fantastically funny, a brutal takedown of the total bastardisation of American barbecue that Fieri’s restaurant represents. It kind of reminds me of Lil Pump’s creatively named album Lil Pump, because Lil Pump is just as terrifically awful a representation of hip hop as Fieri’s spot is a representation of fried chicken. Lil Pump is borderline unlistenable. Its verses are lazily written and delivered, it’s covered in phoned-in and totally unnecessary features to pad out the album’s half-hour runtime and most of the production could go undercover on a YouTube playlist called “Migos Metro Boomin type beats”. It is a truly godawful excuse for a hip hop record.

Lil Pump is borderline unlistenable

I can’t do it, though. I can’t bring myself to trash this album as much as it should be, because as much as Lil Pump’s album deserves a trashing, he doesn’t really seem to understand what he’s doing and what’s going on around him. For context; Lil Pump only just turned 17 and has been hopelessly addicted to Xanax and other opiates for the entire duration of his year-long career, so it’s pretty understandable how someone who’s messed themselves up this badly in their adolescence would make such a terrible album.

Gucci Mane

A lot of it even sounds less like the fun trap it’s intended to be and a lot more like a cry for help. Take ‘Youngest Flexer’, featuring an embarrassed-sounding Gucci Mane. Based on the beat, the subject matter and the delivery, it could be any other terrible trap song from the last year or so, but reading the lyrics – about being the youngest trap star around and the kind of guy who puts Xanax in a smoothie – in the context of Lil Pump’s actual life is an uncomfortable experience.

If I was pushed to talk about the good elements of Lil Pump, I could find some. The production is competent enough to carry the listener through the runtime of the album without much pain, though in general it’s still pretty dull. Each song is blessedly short, with about a third of the tracklist cracking the three-minute mark. I didn’t hate Lil Yachty’s feature on ‘Back’, which surprised me. Lil Pump also has a semi-competent set of flows on ‘Back’, making a nice break from the usual yelling. ‘D Rose’, ‘Boss’ and ‘Iced Out’ with 2 Chainz are shamefully pretty catchy, though that’s mostly down to their above average production rather than anything Lil Pump himself added to the song. These are the good things about Lil Pump’s album. Look upon Lil Pump’s works, ye mighty, and despair.

the kind of guy who puts Xanax in a smoothie

The Internet is such a powerful force for good in the world – not just in music, in general. We have the entire range of human knowledge in our fucking pockets. We can see anything we want to see, at any time, for free, wherever we are anywhere on the planet. That’s great for music – musicians like Kevin Abstract, Frank Ocean, even Kanye West, wouldn’t be where they are without the Internet. We’re able to stand on the sidelines and watch the best artists of our generation step up and create their masterpieces closer than any generation before us.

It’s also a world where Lil Pump, an opiate-addicted teenager with a microphone, can freely self-destruct in front of 3.2 million Instagram followers and nobody will stop to consider that maybe this kid needs help. Trying to say “it’s not that deep” doesn’t really ring true in this case – it feels a lot more like admitting that some a 17-year-old’s wellbeing is less important than the ability of anonymous Instagram users to laugh at him while he does serious long-term damage to himself. Sure, the album’s shit. But the listeners are worse.

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