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New Music| Lil’ B “I Forgive You” Mixtape

This came out of left field.

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Lil B: Understanding Rap’s New Rebel


Yipes…an NPR piece too? Thank you, Based god.

Twenty-one-year-old Brandon McCartney stands on stage at New York’s Highline Ballroom in a tighter-than-skin-tight v-neck T-shirt. Below him, a sold out crowd split roughly down the middle along multiple demographic lines – street fashionable kids of all races stand next to aging bespectacled bearded types — thunder a chant of “Ellen / Degeneres / Ellen / Degeneres!” in deadpan unison. Some fans are adorned in chef’s caps and wave spatulas in the air. Others kiss the rapper’s hand in reverence. Many are simply there to witness the spectacle.

Lil B regularly interrupts the performance to pass his mic to the crowd, who jokingly promise their loved ones as sexual sacrifices. He “knights” them in return. He brags about wearing the same pants everyday. He signs iPhones. He plays the mic across his abdomen like it’s a jugband washboard and then consoles his less fit followers: “It’s okay if you don’t have abs.” He also raps a little, but not as much or as loudly as the kids in the crowd do. Equal parts musical performance, surrealist comedy act, motivational speech, celebrity meet-and-greet and dance party — this is the warped reality of Lil B, a.k.a. The Based God, hip-hop’s most eccentric, vulgar, prolific, endearing and divisive new artist.

Since the dissolution of his almost-famous high school group The Pack, the still-unsigned Berkeley, Calif. rapper has released roughly 3,000 songs for free on the Internet in the past three years. On them he rhymes loosely, in a decidedly Lil Wayne-inspired croak. His themes shift rapidly between sexual perversity, new age mysticism and — most frequently — extreme absurdity.

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