photos of Jason Goodrich
creative director – lil sabotage
interview by lil sabotage
styling by grace bukunmi
makeup by damaris santana
Gazzy Garcia, known to the world as Lil Pump, was barely old enough to drive a car when he started uploading tracks to SoundCloud. The streaming platform was still in its infancy, but Lil Pump, along with artists like XXXTentacion, Juice Wrld, and Smokepurpp, very quickly proved to the world that you don’t need a record label and the publicity machine that comes with being signed to make it big. Once you recorded your track, all you needed was a computer and an average internet connection to instantly share the song with the world. Lil Pump immediately learned the power of SoundCloud as he went from a teenager trying to break into the Miami underground scene to a superstar in a split second.
In August, Lil Pump will release his fourth studio album, “Lil Pump 2”. The timing of the release will coincide with the veteran rapper’s 22nd birthday, putting into perspective how young he was when he broke through and how prolific he was in those six years. Renowned for his loud live performances, Lil Pump was in New York City on one of his few days off when Inked was able to take him in for a photo shoot. Once everything was wrapped up, we asked Lil Sabotage, who served as creative director on set, to get inside Lil Pump’s head. Their conversation went all over the place as they discussed music, travel and the unexpected origins of Lil Pump’s Powerpuff Girls tattoo.
Inked: Let’s start at the beginning. You left very young. What do you think it taught you?
Lil Pump: It taught me a lot, because I grew up quite quickly. I entered the industry at the age of 16 and was immediately successful. I didn’t have that moment where, like, you know how artists go from small to medium to big? My shit skyrocketed from the start.
Why did you turn to SoundCloud and a more DIY aesthetic?
SoundCloud is just a wave. I love SoundCloud. I love the way they operate. And it was really a platform that I just wanted to drop music on. It’s funny. I just woke up the next day literally downloading songs by myself.
Was the transition to stardom hard to maneuver?
Yes and no. Now I know how to get around, I won’t just go to the supermarket alone. Like, I don’t do that, but back then it was different. I would go anywhere. Walking down the street, fuck it, but now I can’t do that kind of shit. I’m way too big for that.
When did you realize you couldn’t go to the supermarket alone?
When I was, like, 17, I started getting mobbed at the mall in Miami. I’d go to a random Gucci store and then, like, the whole mall was waiting for me outside. I’m like, ‘Oh my God, I can’t do this anymore. I need security.
Are any of your tattoos influenced by your career?
I have tattoos for my mum and dad, they both pushed me to keep going. My mother gives me a lot of good advice. She’s like my best friend.
You used to have a tattoo of a frowning face just above your nose which you have since covered up. Why?
It was just because I wanted to make a tattoo that looked better. I think the cross tattoo I got in the middle of my forehead is way better than the one I had before.
You have a tattoo that links you to Jah [XXXTentacion]Can you tell us about it?
Yeah. Jah was a very special person, man. He left too soon. I remember one time I was in LA and it was probably my second time in LA and I was about 17 and had no place to stay and then X took me literally knocked me out and said, “Yo, you can stay at my hotel. After that, I was like, he’s a very genuine person. It was like, he’s my brother.
You also have pop culture tattoos. Tell us about some of them, like the Powerpuff Girls, for example.
I got this Powerpuff Girls tattoo when I dropped “Harverd Dropout”. This whole month, I’ve been doing threesomes, like, every day. So that’s why I had the Powerpuff Girls on my neck. It’s been an amazing month.
Speaking of pop culture, are you a fan of “Saturday Night Live?” And what did you think of the skit they did on “Gucci Gang?” [Pete Davidson played Lil Pump in a music video praising beloved character actor Stanley Tucci called “Tucci Gang” on the late night program]
Yes. I’m a fan of SNL. The “Gucci Gang” skit was so hilarious. I was dying when I saw it.
Would you be on SNL?
Yeah. Why not? [laughs]
So you’re Colombian, how was your recent trip back?
It was amazing. I was eating really, really good food, like salmon on salmon on salmon, man! Shit was amazing! And then I ate bandeja paisa [the unofficial national dish of Colombia, a workman’s lunch consisting of rice, plantain, arepa, avocado, minced meat, black sausage, chorizo, fried pork rind and a fried egg on top] and I love bandeja paisa, but it’s different when you eat it from your hometown. This shit is really good. I just enjoyed the food a lot. And man, the salmon there…crazy!
Does travel inspire your music?
Yes. Since I basically talk about everything I do when I’m in different cities, traveling just gives you different vibes of everything.
Are you excited for your new project, “Lil Pump 2?” Can you tell us when it drops?
Yessirsky! It falls in August around my birthday. It’s about to be crazy. It will be a masterpiece.