Concert Review: Lil Pump at Pop’s Nightclub
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Xanax. Dyed dreads. Kurt Cobain sunglasses. This is the holy trinity of Soundcloud rap, the three ingredients needed to get a No Jumper interview and the adoration of millions of stupid Hypebeasts. In other words, the oft-sought after “clout.”
I enjoy certain artists that inhabit this world. $uicideBoy$, Denzel Curry, Lil Peep, and even XXXTentacion on occcasion. But I find myself hating many more: Pouya, Bones, Fat Nick, Ghostmane, Famous Dex…I can’t stand any of them, largely due to a clear lack of talent and overtly derivative style.
And then there’s Lil Pump, perhaps the most notoriously untalented of them all. I believe that, in hip-hop, eschewing technical ability in favor of raw energy is fine, but you have to be good at it and you have to do it in a unique manner. I’ve always found that Lil Pump fails at this. He sounds lobotomized on all his tracks, and the beats he raps over are trite. So I’ve always hated him.
But after seeing him live earlier this week, I learned something: though his music may be sort of terrible (although I will concede that it has a lot of novelty factor), he knows how to get a crowd moving, and he is best experienced live, by far.
Prior to the show, I had some anxiety but mostly excitement in regards to the venue. Pop’s Nightclub is a notoriously trashy establishment located in East St. Louis. I knew that there was a good chance that something bad would happen or that I could get hurt. But I also understood that that makes for an awesome show.
As we pulled into the Pop’s parking lot, we were greeted with Lil Pump’s pubescent face adorned across a billboard. We were sure to arrive a couple hours early to score a spot towards the front, but, to our chagrin, we discovered there were already many people who had beaten us.
After two hours of waiting with insufferable frat types that I couldn’t wait to take on in the mosh pit, we were finally allowed to enter the venue. It was small and dank, perfect for a punk rock style show. We ended up getting a spot pretty close to the stage, but once we were there, there was no turning back. If you leave the pit, you won’t get back in. Not that you could leave if you wanted to, as we were all cramped together like cows to the slaughter, unable to move most of the time.
When Lil Pump ran onstage after three hours of insufferable opening acts, the venue instantly blew up. In that moment I realized how mature Pump’s ability to connect with a crowd is. While it may not be on a particularly deep level, his ability to have that much command over a group of people is a testament to his confidence and natural performance savvy. He’s no genius, but I think it’s a little misled to call him talentless. What followed was around 40 minutes of primal, sweaty moshing and incessant “eskeetits.”
“I wanna see a fat-a** mosh pit!” Lil Pump yelled through his dense braces as gunshots sounded off, indicating “D Rose” was about to play. This was by far the wildest concert I’ve been to in terms of crowd participation and energy. The aggressive movement and knocking into one another was nonstop. Sadly, however, I came out with no injuries other than a sore jaw. Other people were not so lucky though. Three fights broke out. Someone wouldn’t stop shoving another dude’s girlfriend, and when confronted he loudly spewed some very misogynistic language towards the girl’s direction. I got in a screaming match with some girthy bald dude, which was also pretty cool.
Lil Pump closed the show with “Boss,” which elicited the most potent energy of the night. After that, we all shuffled out, drenched in sweat and, some of us, blood. I finally learned to appreciate Lil Pump after that. He may not sound the best through your earbuds, but when you’re in a mosh pit full of stupid kids looking to wild out while “D Rose” is on, you finally get a grasp of the purpose behind it all.