Before Lil Pump started making music, he was just a Florida kid named Gazzy Garcia who had a penchant for fighting and getting kicked out of school. At thirteen years old, the Miami native was introduced to Smokepurrp, known then as Omar Pineiro, and the two began a friendship that served as the catalyst for both of their careers. Lil Pump began his career online when Smokepurrp asked the rapper to freestyle over a beat he had made. The track was then uploaded to SoundCloud, spawning the production of four more songs, including “Elementary” and “Ignorant,” which garnered Pump over three million streams on the service. He soon became an important part of the underground rap scene in South Florida. As his music gained more traction on the internet, Lil Pump visibility increased across the country, and he was eventually featured on the No Jumper Tour in 2016.
“Gucci Gang,” Pump’s infectious debut single about sex, drugs, and everyone’s favorite luxury brands, peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and later became gold and platinum certified. The song was Lil Pump’s introduction to the mainstream music world, and many were hesitant to accept what he, and the other SoundCloud-era rappers like him, had to offer. J. Cole was one of many artists who attempted to shed light on the dangers of young SoundCloud artists becoming absorbed in the trappings of fame. Meanwhile, Pump chanted “Fuck J. Cole” during performances. The two rappers eventually addressed their grievances in a video uploaded to YouTube wherein Cole interviews Pump to better understand the next generation of rappers. Lil Pump has since collaborated with Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Maluma, and Swae Lee, and released his second studio album, Harverd Dropout, which spawned his (un)official commencement speech at Harvard University. Even Gucci Mane has teamed up with the teen rapper for a Coachella performance with Smokepurrp as part of a group they’ve appropriately named Gucci Gang.