Who Is Lil Pump? The SoundCloud Rapper Caught Heat For Endorsing Trump
Lil Pump is at the center of national media attention after speaking at Donald Trump's final reelection rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Nov. 3. On top of being a viral star on social media, the 20-year-old rapper from Miami, Florida, has maintained quite the reputation over the years for being a rowdy disruptor in both the underground producer and mainstream hip-hop space. If you're just getting an introduction from his controversial "Make America Great Again" endorsement, or if you're just a curious fan, it's about time you delve into the backstory of the SoundCloud rapper, Lil Pump.
Gazzy Garcia, popularly known as Lil Pump, first rose to prominence when he released a self-titled track to SoundCloud back in 2016. Boosted by the same 2017 SoundCloud rap boom that helped bolster artists like XXXtentacion and Trippie Redd into the mainstream, fans found his songs, which combine tropes from what classic hip-hop lovers characterize as "mumble-rap" and bass-heavy sub-genres, super catchy.
Pump is a frequent collaborator with one of the boom's sonic masterminds, producer Smokepurpp. His first track, produced by Smokepurpp himself in 2016, contains all the hallmarks of a classic Pump track, combining sly near-rhymes in his verses with blown-out bass lines and a trap drum kit.
Pump wouldn't attain true mainstream success, however, until he released the viral banger "Gucci Gang" in 2017 after signing with Warner Records that same year. "Gucci Gang" propelled Pump into mainstream territory because of his easy-earworm approach to music-making and unique image and style. The track's music video has over 1 billion views on YouTube to date and was even spoofed by Saturday Night Live cast member Pete Davidson for a skit about actor Stanley Tucci.
Pump's star power only rose from there as he catapulted himself into a crowd of rap's biggest hitmakers, collaborating with Gucci Mane and 2 Chainz on his debut album, Lil Pump. Soon after its release, however, Pump's contract with Warner was voided, and he found himself a free agent on a small technicality: he was a minor when he signed the deal. Warner ended up re-signing him soon after, though, to the tune of nearly $8 million in March 2018.
You can't help but think that, somewhere, a record executive is punching the air in frustration right no because, in addition to his new and polarizing affiliation with Donald Trump, his sophomore album didn't deliver him a hit quite like "Gucci Gang." His second album, the misspelled Harverd Dropout, had some notable cuts and features — with the Kanye West-assisted "I Love It" garnering modest success on the Billboard Streaming chart — but ultimately fell flat for listeners. It received a scathing review and a 3.8 rating from music publication Pitchfork, and Pump hasn't released a full-length project since. He even went as far as to announce that he was quitting music in February 2020, but he pedaled back that statement soon after and started teasing his still-unreleased third studio album, Lil Pump 2.
Whether or not his albums are Billboard chart successes or his fans love him or hate him on any given day, Pump's social media capital is still bonkers. He has over 17 million followers on Instagram, which is what made his endorsement a huge get for Trump — if he was looking to engage Gen Z voters familiar with Pump's music. Unfortunately for Trump, however, it doesn't seem like many Gen Z fans are receptive to Pump's political views.
Whether or not we'll get new music from Lil Pump anytime soon is yet to be seen, but with his newfound interest in politics, it seems likelier that fans will be left waiting a bit longer.