Hip-hop resides within numerous spheres of existence. It might be playing in your backyard at a pool party or whizzing by in car speakers as you walk down the street. One thing for certain, hip-hop in the modern era clearly generates a different brand of flavor than in the eighties and nineties. In reality, your daily “Soundcloud rapper” lacks flavor and derives from a whole different breed in terms of skillset. Their rhymes are much more watered down in exchange for obnoxious beats. The beats are the selling points and the reason why a song attracts unheralded attention.
The prime example and practically the originator of the “Soundcloud rap” era is none other than Smokepurpp. Born in Chicago, but spending the duration of his life in South Florida, he represents a lot of the reasons why hip-hop fans remain nostalgic. Real name Omar Pineiro, this young Miami “jit” started by producing his beats in commonly used Windows program, FL studio. He aspired to obtain a lucrative career but wished to avoid having his face in the limelight so he originally tried his hand in the rap game with production. After nobody inquired to use his beats to make songs because they were “trash” he decided to put out his own over them instead.
Smokepurpp can be considered one of hip-hop’s first “mumble rappers” from the “clout” generation. A mumble rapper can best be described as someone who does not clearly enunciate their words or form whole sentences correctly. Additionally, a “mumble rapper” prefers to let their beats be the focal point of the music while only spewing forth superficial, regurgitated and washed up choices of vocabulary. The English language carries so many complexities and profound ways of piecing together words and phrases, yet “mumble rappers” are completely unaware of this. For instance, Smokepurpp’s good friend and rap cohort, Lil Pump’s most popular song, Gucci Gang repeats the song’s title 53 times and contains less than 20 unique words throughout.
Smokepurpp capitalizes off of the new wave of drug-infested teenagers who love to drown themselves in absolute garbage sound reiterated and repeated to sound “fresh.” He utilizes his “weird” image and caters to a “cult” type of audience. Smokepurpp’s self-claimed redeeming quality that separates him from the rest is the fact that he gained all of these fans completely by himself. Kudos to him for gaining notoriety and independently making something out of nothing after getting expelled from school on the same day as his buddy, Lil Pump JetSki. Unfortunately, the music that he contributes to the game is filled with gimmickry and exists without any substance within this simplified era of “instant gratification.”
SmokePurpp’s background in high school allowed him to practice many different avenues of entertainment prior to embarking upon the journey of saturated rap. He began with the ability to film, edit, DJ, and even took part in some dramatic theater. Certainly, through experimentation, Purp was able to test the waters via trial and error in terms of what he felt the most comfortable doing. He grew up idolizing Chief Keef and Lil Wayne, as his coming of age moment came while tripping off of psychedelic magic mushrooms and watching a Lil Wayne documentary. In this moment, he unlocked a new level of confidence within himself and rewired his brain to make it possible to overcome any obstacle.
Selling Short Term over Big Picture
A prime example of how Smokepurpp only cares about money and fame instead of admiration comes from the dissolving of his relationship with Lil Pump’s cousin Lil Ominous. Lil Ominous introduced Lil Pump to Smokepurpp and ever since they have not associated with Lil Ominous. Clearly, these two Floridians desire wealth and things that come from it much more than they do leaving a legacy behind or impacting those around them. In order to effectuate change, you must do something different. All that these two “artists” do is follow the same generic and redundant formula because that is the type of music that sells for the moment.
Before they blew up, Smokepurpp and Lil Pump would just freestyle with each other while passing around various drugs. Smokepurpp actually encouraged Lil Pump to start recording and his first popular song was produced by Smokepurpp. They each got kicked out of school on the same day and proceeded to go to opportunity school where their bookbags were metal detected on the daily. After dropping out completely, the two turned to selling drugs and generic lyrics to gain fortune. Smokepurpp’s first song that blew up titled, “Ski Mask” received video production from the creative genius of Lyrical Lemonade’s empire originator, Cole Bennett.
On September 28, 2017 Smokepurpp released his debut album, “Deadstar.” The next day he signed to Travis Scott’s record label, Cactus Jack. Shortly thereafter, The two linked up to to release the song, “Fingers Blue.” Previously, he aligned himself with Alamo Records which is an Interscope imprint. He intends to release merchandise to go with the album in the form of belts, t-shirts, hoodies & more. The explanation behind the album, “Deadstar” originated from the idea that a black hole is the deepest most heaviest thing in the universe. Since he consumed a plethora of drugs and felt very sunken while making this album the name fit like a gem. Clearly, this concept proved to lack any type of articulation. One redeeming characteristic that Purpp admits about writing during this album is that he confessed all of his flaws and exposed many personal secrets to his fans. For instance, he revealed details about his pill addiction and used the recording sessions to completely pour out his soul to his dedicated group of followers.
A bit later, Smokepurpp released a collab mixtape with Murda Beatz titled, “Bless Yo Trap.” He proceeded to doze off while discussing the project’s background and development on an episode of Mass Appeal. Another frequent collaborator that Smokepurpp works with is Ronny J who began making beats with a group called the Raider Klan. Purpp and Lil Pump commenced the inaugural “No Jumper” tour with podcast host, Adam 22. They set into motion a huge brawl from the stage upon a drug-infused crowd of rowdy individuals who decided to yell obscenities in their direction.
For those unaware, Smokepurpp belongs in the category of rap individuals that kicked off the wave of depressing, dark and throw-away hip-hop. Without any lyrical density and the tendency to incite violence there are absolutely no positive takeaways or lasting impressions created from this “music.” Under the same umbrella as XXXTentacion, Lil Peep, Lil Uzi Vert and Lil Yachty all of these rappers exist for clout and entertainment purposes. Without any contribution to the longevity of the art that is hip-hop, they merely exist for monetary gain. What they will be known for is chasing “clout.” Meaning, they would rather portray an image of stardom and success by any means whether or not they are rich or down to their last dollar. Their existence represents what is wrong with society and presents itself as a false facade. These type of artists will do whatever it takes to generate, “entertainment value” via appearance and could not submit a truly unique body of work if their lives depended on it.
“This penchant for meme-first exaggeration — inflating characters until they become larger than life — is a hallmark of the scene.” (NYT)
Smokepurpp never led on to his family that he was a rapper. It wasn’t until fans began to flood him in the streets that his mom grew weary of the type of popularity he began to gain. As his persona grew, the raps grew more intolerable. Sure, his immediate family and inner circle are content with the type of currency he gains but where is the value? Without any content to cement any type of future benefaction, where does the line get drawn? Thankfully, hip-hop revivalists still exist and can clearly decipher between what is worth tuning into and what needs to be demolished. Until then, Smokepurpp and Lil Pump will continue to release their ignorant renditions of soul-sucking tuneage in the form of moshpit punk hop and/or grunge rap. Whatever the hell you would like to call it, please keep it leaps and bounds away from my stereo system.