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‘Harverd Dropout’ speaks to a generation

| Thursday, February 28, 2019

Lina Domenella | The Observer

Lil Pump makes music to blast on phone speakers. His loud, rhythmic rapping, along with his fragmented beats are made to be played on iPhone speakers at maximum volume. And the kids who would play Pump out of their phones are exactly who Lil Pump thrives with; this 18-year-old who has become too rich and famous for his own good is a Gen-Z icon.

The title of his debut album “Harverd Dropout” started as a meme — Lil Pump was said to have dropped out of Harvard to save the rap game. This joke, meant to poke fun at Lil Pump’s repetitive lyrics and status as a dyslexic high school dropout, was quickly picked up by the rapper, who is ever the social media wizard.

Throughout the album, Lil Pump owns every aspect of his life he could be ridiculed for: “Ever since I started sippin’ lean, I lost my six pack.” Just as he sports his chubbiness, he is no-nonsense about his struggles with drug dependency: “Real drug addict, what up?” However, these issues are simply parts of Lil Pump’s life, rather than anything he would want to change.

As an artist and a character, Lil Pump’s presence is fun. He doesn’t respect authority, even the scientific authority which promotes eating as a necessary aspect of life: “I don’t need you, I don’t need school. I pop beans, I don’t eat food.” Lil Pump also enjoys stringing together words which may or may not mean anything in relation to each other: “Off-white. White rice. Fortnite. Pew pew pew. Red light.” His music is free from heavy emotions and all seriousness.

In reality, most of what Pump does is senseless. He raps about whatever comes to mind and seems to live his life in the same impulsive manner. Lil Pump is the response to the existential pressures and bubbling anxiety of modern kids. We look for happiness in a world that tells us our happiness is dependent on the opinions of others. Lil Pump, on “Harverd Dropout,” has rejected that world and still found success; he is the ideal model for today’s powerless youth.

The shackles of expectation are both ethereal and iron-clad; I know I can take my life in any direction at any moment on a whim, but I never will. “Harverd Dropout” is a glance into what my life could be if I did. I could be taking drugs, cursing out my teachers and driving a Maclaren.

Lil Pump sits at the convergence of success as society describes it — money — and success as individuals desire it — happiness. He has cheated a system that is all too powerful. Rather than taking the prescribed path to success, Lil Pump is doing everything wrong and still winning. He is giving into his urges, completely disrespectful and utterly moronic in too many ways. The fact that he can live the way he does and enjoy success is a glimmer of hope that I, and anyone who ever listens to him, may live the lives we want and still get the results society dictates that we need.

For some reason, all the technological progress in the world has made is easier to stay alive, but harder to live. “Harverd Dropout” is one of those rare things which makes living less scary. On the album, Lil Pump is a real person who is living real crazy: he’s having fun, he doesn’t care, he’s doing what he wants. For myself and everyone else who feels the phantom tugs and shoves from what we’re supposed to do and who we’re supposed to be, “Harverd Dropout” is hope that maybe we can do it all the way we want to.


Artist: Lil Pump

Album: “Harverd Dropout”

Label:  Warner Music Group

Favorite Track: “Off-White”

If you like: Smokepurpp, Lil Uzi Vert

Shamrocks: 4.5 out of 5

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