Kanye West and Lil Pump’s ‘I Love It’, released in early September, is probably the most outrageous song you’ll hear all year. Its music video is even more absurd – the two artists dance along a seemingly endless white corridor while following comedian Adele Varens, portrayed as easily 5 feet taller than the pair, who gleefully rap about their appreciation for sexual promiscuity. Oh, and they’re both wearing fucking massive Roblox costumes.
Depending on who you ask, the song is either one of the most strangely enjoyable songs of the year or an archetype of possibly the most hated musical subgenre on the planet. I think it’s both, really – while the crude lyrics and irritating autotune undermine its appeal, something about the image of Kanye, dressed like a literal box and gleefully dancing to the song’s bassline, makes me love it.
The video was debuted at September’s PornHub awards (which are a thing, apparently) and as much as the visuals are entertaining, without its absurdity, the song really loses a lot of value. Pump’s initial refrain exemplifies the issues that I, along with many, have with so-called “mumble rap”. Simple, autotuned lyrics about women (or “hoes” to use Mr Pump’s term) are the calling cards of a poor song. The genre itself really lacks creativity and has been attacked for that reason. “The mass public has been dumbed down,” according to hip-hop artist Kool G Rap.
The popular mumble rap artist Lil Uzi Vert has also claimed in the past, “You just say ‘yeah’ at the end of everything and make it rhyme. It don’t matter what it is.”
The appeal of mumble rap may illustrate how music and beats are becoming more popular to rap audiences than lyrics and complex rhymes. Repetition sells in the music industry and, unfortunately, new artists stick to what works: memorable hooks and similar rhythms.
Nevertheless, the single launched at number six on the Hot 100, before hitting number one on the streaming charts with almost 50 million first-week streams in the US. Why has it been such a hit? The video certainly helps, as does the appeal Kanye brings to the table. Although historically a more lyrical and poetic rap artist, the vulgarity of his refrain, “I’m a sick fuck, I like a quick fuck” is so unashamedly Kanye that it just works.
However, that and his “whoop” and “scoop” ad-libs perhaps suggest one thing about the song: he’s probably having us on here. As he’s an artist capable of, in my opinion, inarguable* musical perfection, it’s fair to suggest that this revelry in beat fetishism and visual absurdity is the latest example of the rap star’s comical approach to music. Maybe the public just wants to let him enjoy himself; the guy’s made enough good music in the past.
Image: Rodrigo Ferrari