Lil’ Pump released a new single last week with an accompanying music video in which he used a racially charged gesture to describe basketball player, Yao Ming. In “Butterfly Doors,” Lil’ Pump pulled his eyes apart to make them appear slanted, a decision widely condemned by Chinese rappers and the American public alike.
The mannerism has been referred to by many as a common “racist epithet,” a gesture typically meant to poke fun and demean Asian-Americans. In the track, Lil’ Pump raps, “smokin’ on dope – they call me Yao Ming ’cause my eyes real low (ching chong).” Chinese rappers and social media took issue for not only using the phrase, “ching chong,” but for also pulling on his eyelids.
As a result of the controversy, the “Gucci Gang” rapper released a video on social media in which he apologized for offending all of his fans.
The rapper said on his Instagram account, “I seen the whole thing going on the internet and all that.” He says in the video that he never meant any harm to any individuals, adding, “I got Asian homies, you know,” and that he “f*ck(s) with everybody.”
As it was previously reported, several Chinese rappers as well as actress Awkwafina who appeared in Crazy Rich Asians, said that it was a “racist epithet.”
Some even used the occasion to release music of their own. Lil Yijie, or P*ssy, took to his social media and released a diss track called, “FXXX LIL PUMP,” in which he took shots at the 18-year-old Miami native. He said Lil’ Pump wasn’t any different from “white racists.”
Despite the controversy, Lil’ Pump, aka Gazzy Garcia’s career has taken off considerably in the last two years with hit singles, “I Love It,” along with Kanye West, “Eskeetit,” “Boss,” and “Drug Addicts,” the latter in which he starred with Mr. Charlie Sheen from Two And A Half Men.
His rise in popularity has coincided with the explosion of trap music, or what’s been called, “mumble rap,” a derisive term used by even the likes of Eminem, who shaded both Lil’ Pump and Lil’ Yachty on his latest release, Kamikaze.