It's no denying that if you are intune with the hiphop scene on the Web (i.e. Twitter, blogs, YouTube, etc), that you've run into a guy by the name of Lil' B. If not, relive my first experience with this guy through this video right here:
Now, initially this didn't last past a minute on my laptop as, one I thought Lil' B was a terrible rapper, and my hiphop tendencies will quickly dismiss a dude that'll call himself a bitch, but these thought marinated in my head for the rest of the day:
What's wrong with a guy calling himself a bitch? Is that his real opinion about himself? Where are all the guys at that can sit their and call themselves something that is degradable to women and still rap about getting girls? And, ultimately, IS THIS GUY SERIOUS????
As time went on hundreds of responses from my colleagues, friends and internet buddies were following this unusual trend created by Lil' B - being Based. I noticed it in this above video that it was a "Based freestyle," so I had to find out what Based meant. According to his interview in Complex, Lil' B considers Based as a positive and highly confident mindset. And of course, when you put two and two together, it's the kind of confidence where a person like Lil' B, who also calls himself "the Based god," is ok with getting called or call himself a bitch, a fag and a lesbian, or even say he looks like Jesus (click the links if you think I'm joking). I understand and can agree with a movement like that because it definitely beats lyrics like "Kill that faggot," etc, etc. Additionally, for anyone to attempt to redefine the word bitch, fag, or whatever stays on my good side.
However, this is not the sole reason I am writing this piece!
Although most will say Lil' B lacks lyrical skills, continuing to read the same Complex interview, he explains that his raps are inspired by drugs. Listening to his lyrical abilities now, anybody - even a four year old - would say he's wack. I feel the same way, if you do not account for his high self-confidence.
I personally would believe dude would be a lyrical force if he was 100% sober. But, I feel that 100% sobriety will lead to a loss in his edgy stream of consciousness. One thing that no one should disregard is a person's stream of consciousness. Without getting too deep, a stream of consciousness is the quickest way into one's psychological ocean we call the mind. Even if this dude has moments where he sounds like an idiot hollering he's Paris Hilton, knowing he don't look like a lily white cokehead, he still has moments where his creativity to express himself is phenomenal.
Take this video where he freestyles to How to Dress Well's "Ready For The World":
Now can you disregard his stream of consciousness? He's probably the first that I have heard in these times to relay a message that isn't coded, raw, uncut, unstructured, and has the ability to speak positivity to the streets, and NO I'm not only talking about the hood. Let's break that down:
1) A non-coded message - instead of sticking with the usual word cues that most rappers use, Lil' B's only code is Based, which isn't really that coded in the first place, plus he takes uncommon or looked-down-upon words and spin them into his own codes which are taken from his untapped, Based mind.
2) Raw, uncut, and unstructured - here's where a lot of people misunderstand Lil' B. Whereas rappers play it safe and conform to the ways of hiphop (although hiphop is the rebel society), Lil' B breaks all the rules in order to be straightforward with his thoughts. There's little to no rhyme structure, not to say if it's intentional on his part or not, there's no regard for other people's comfort, and it's quite clear that his only focus is relaying his thoughts to the world, as is.
3) Has the ability to speak positivity to the streets, and not just the hood dudes on the corners - given his background and upbringing, Lil' B isn't much of a street dude. However, from rappers who have spoke prophetically about a rough life (i.e. Tupac, Common, etc), their upbringing doesn't necessarily shout "I used to be a drug dealer." Same goes for Lil' B, although he claims running with the wrong crowd, committing crimes and a big drug problem in Berkeley (which I have seen myself). Although cats like Tupac tell the best thug life tales, Lil' B (though he's by far no 'Pac) manages to speak to those kind of people, as well as the folks who may not sell drugs but abuse them, or may not commit crimes but have been victims, or may not have been involved in any of that mess but are still in that environment. Take the above video, or this one:
Overall, I would say Lil' B is hiphop's hippie. You know how in the era of "Flower Power", though popular amongst the minority in the 60s, your people in charge and running the world never heard them out? Or, taking it to this day and age, the "crazies" that live in the old house that sits on the corner that every kid (and some adults) constantly speculates over? That's Lil' B, in a nutshell. Beyond pushing the boundaries of the hiphop community, his creative process (if one would say he has one) makes hiphop highly uncomfortable - to the point where no one's even listening to him.
Personally, Lil' B has won me over as a fan because of his ability to step outside of the box hiphop has been put in, while still managing to keep things real... or should I say "Based." And I would most certainly call his music hiphop! Actually, it's beyond hiphop, Lil' B is in his own lane.