Lil Pump – Lil Pump 2

An oddly dated return...

The recent outage at DatPiff served notice of nostalgia for a certain era. The mixtape platform contains a unique archive of rap material from the 2010s – that in-between stage, lingering at the end of file-sharing, and the beginning of streaming consolidation. Lil Pump emerged from that same era, arguably one of the definitive stars of the SoundCloud rap era. Glossy, effects-laden releases, his quickly garnered a colossal international fanbase, his every utterance earning millions upon millions of plays.

Aiming for immediacy and brashness over subtlety and nuance, Lil Pump’s 2017 debut album became a breakout moment. Since then, he’s played with his sound, drawn different influences into his orbit, yet few projects have impacted in the same way. ‘Lil Pump 2’ feels like a reinforcement of his core values, an attempt to re-state his root rap essentials – it’s entertaining but also curiously dated.

Music for mosh pits, opener ‘Tesla’ is all grandiose fanfares, braggadocio, and arena-level electronics. Tracks like ‘Pull Up’ and ‘All The Sudden’ are playfully entertaining, but don’t seem to hold attention beyond a couple of plays. The thick, sickly sweet varnish that Lil Pump heaped on his early tracks remains attention-grabbing, but increasingly falls behind other production innovations.

And that’s the thing. ‘Lil Pump 2’ has an odd feeling of being out-of-place. The new elements he adopts – ‘Pump Rock x Heavy Metal’ with its thundering guitar chords for example – don’t truly serve him, while the tropes of 2015 have a stunted sound in the context of, say, trans-Atlantic drill.

Yet Lil Pump can still serve out brash rap thrills like few around. He finally gives his YoungBoy NeverBrokeAgain cut ‘I Don’t Mind’ an official release, and it’s a stellar swerve from two renegade voices. Closer ‘Swipe’ has that square-wave grime feel, while the redoubtable Ty Dolla $ign is on hand to elevate the R&B touches on ‘She Know’.

Far from a failure, ‘Lil Pump 2’ is all glitz and fireworks, while never truly leading from the front. Tapping back into his core values, it’s a fan pleaser, but ultimately finds Lil Pump staying still.


Words: Robin Murray

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