Harverd Dropout is Lil Pump’s follow-up to his virally successful self-titled debut, and comes on the heels of his Billboard-charting track “I Love It.” On Harverd Dropout, Lil Pump sticks to his established formula of simple hooks, braggadocious bars, and angular trap production.
This album was really rough to get through for a lot of reasons. I honestly think listening to it lowered my reading level. Opener “Drop Out” features Pump rapping over an exceedingly ugly trap beat, the melody—if one would even call it that—gradually walks up chromatically over stereotypical sub bass and pounding kicks. Overall, the beat is pretty gross, and not in a good way, coming off as something that could be purchased on YouTube for $50 but shinier. The lyrics aren’t much better, covering the typical Pump topics of drugs, pricey watches, and so on, but lacking any hilarious punchlines.
“I Love It,” is somewhat better, with Pump crooning a basic-yet-catchy autotuned hook, which is likely what allowed it to climb the charts so quickly. Having production from Kanye West helps the track, as it actually sounds like something that has Warner Brothers backing and funding, which cannot be said for most of the album. The lyrics are still terrible, but that’s largely a given when listening to Pump.
Sometimes Pump’s energy and ability to write clever one-liners carry the song. For example the line “Got your mom whipping up dope, butt naked/Popped three Percs, I forgot I graduated” on “ION” is delivered with a rapid, lively flow that actually works pretty well. It’s funny, preposterous, and everything Pump strives to be. Similarly, on “Be Like Me,” Pump raps “I’m a millionaire but I don’t know how to read,” which is just ridiculous and somewhat self-aware, as lines like that come off as Pump embracing the fact that he’s perceived as everything but a lyricist.
That said, bright spots are rare. “Vroom Vroom Vroom” is one of the most grating songs I’ve heard recently, featuring an absolutely nonsensical hook, overcompressed production, and no clever lyrics. “Stripper Name” has similar problems, delivering yet another irritating chorus and some really gross bars from YG, who ends his verse with “take this dick and shut up.” I’m surprised that line even made the album, and I don’t think I need to explain why.
“Multi Millionaire” is another song that’s frankly just awful—Pump sticking to his usual lyrical topics over a nondescript trap beat, but also getting out-rapped by Lil Uzi Vert, who delivers a fun little double-time flow in the second-half of the track. Uzi’s efforts aren’t enough to make the song worthwhile, however.
“Butterfly Doors” might be the worst song on the album. Pump doesn’t even sound excited to be on his own track, rapping pretty lethargically over a super skeletal, overly clean beat, yet again not saying anything interesting.
In some ways, it feels unfair to criticize this album at all. No one walks into a Pump album expecting an art piece, à la Frank Ocean’s Blonde or Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly. But Pump fails to work a funny punchline or memorable hook into most of the tracks on here, rapping predictably over production that sounds worse than that of artists with a smaller budget. For example, wifisfuneral’s 2017 release Boy Who Cried Wolf is mixed better, more appropriately produced, and properly arranged, all while carrying what was likely a smaller production budget. None of the production on this album really bangs, and that’s simply inexcusable. Pump is on a huge label and has been in the public eye pretty prominently in the past year. His album should like it. I was hoping that Pump would create another banging yet brief album—as his self-titled debut was overall not bad—but instead, all we’re getting is an overcompressed, underwritten, sloppy mess of an album.