Even before “Butterfly Doors” went to press, Lil Pump’s use of a racial slur in the song was fast becoming commonknowledge. And yet, the song was invariably published in its original state, along with the aforementioned slur. Lil Pump manages to say, “they call me Yao Ming ‘cause my eyes real low, ching chong,” in the song’s pre-chorus.
In the video version, Lil Pump simply mutes the words “Yao Ming” and “Ching Chong” instead of reshaping the song from scratch. The “eyes real low” simile is obstinately present in rap, Pump isn’t the lone offender. Hip-hops problem with orientalism dates back to Timbalandtrying his hand at the “Indian Flute,” as far as my memories serves me.
Pump has since apologized (and publicly acknowledged) for his offensive gesture.”I seen the whole thing going on on the internet and all that. I came here to tell you from my part that I’m sorry and I apologize for posting that,” he wrote in a press release. “It was not my intentions to hurt nobody or do none of that. … I got Asian homies, you know. I fuck with everybody and I got nothing against nobody. It’s all love.”
Pump was thereby forced into a binding situation, when Asian-American celebrities spoke out against him, as opposed to presumptive speakers with their own agenda. The racial slurs, in their original form, even engendered a diss record from Chinese rapper Lil Yijie called “FXXX LIL PUMP,” which aired in December.