So there's this guy named Lil B. He is Bill Clinton, Miley Cyrus, and bitches are on his dick because he looks like Jesus. He raps about cat care and back pain. About black liberation and becoming Jesus. About cooking (specifically how to dance your way to Master Chef-dom), and about brring-ding-ding-ing your girlfriend. He is the Based God.
Actually, his name is Brandon McCartney, aka Lil B, aka the Based God. He is 21 years old and was a member of now-defunct high-school hyphy movement rap group The Pack. He has since released anywhere between 700 and 3,000 solo tracks on hundreds of MySpace pages and Youtube accounts.
His rap style is unique. Harsh, Lil Wayne-esque croaks that rarely rhyme, are usually out of time, and generally clash with the backing tracks. He capitalizes more off repeating a phrase until it's catchy (see: Ellen Degeneres below) than actual metaphor and stylistic lyrics.
Unsurprisingly, critics are having mixed feelings on the Based revolution we are standing at the helm of. He has been heralded by the New York Times as "a folk hero of the rap subculture" and by Vice Magazine as the most revolutionary MC of the past 15 years". Really, I kid you not.
Even NPR's Andrew Noz had an extremely open mind about TheBasedGod:
"He gleefully tears down the remaining tenets of hip-hop conservatism, illuminating the growing generation gap in a genre that is approaching its fourth decade of existence. Many of Lil B's listeners are the children of the children who grew up on NWA's rebellion, so they invert it. This new generation wears obtrusively skinny pants as a logical counterpoint to their parent's oversized baggy jeans. On record, Lil B proudly calls himself "a princess" and "a f*****" as a flip side to the hyper-masculinity and lingering homophobia of the past generation."
So why the reviews? What is Brandon McCartney doing right that is selling out shows across the nation that other MCs apparently have failed to grasp? Anything he god damn wants. He fills a niche in the rap subculture that is appealing to the masses at the granular level. A constant flow of tweets and Youtube posts make him accessible to his fanbase like no other artist.
He has created a Based style, or movement for that matter, revolving around saying what you feel and living in the moment. Lil B describes, "Being based means [being] positive, doing what you want to do, not caring and just being yourself."
It's sickly beautiful in a way. For a rapper who clearly has talent in his "Vans" and "Shinin'" days with the Pack (when he was only 17, at that) he seems off-putting as a rapper who has the ability to rap but appears to instead prefer Based Freestyle opposed to rhyme and meter. In the technical aspects of rap, he is terrible. Rhyming rarely, and often using the same structural composition of lines song after song after song.
But again, that's the beauty of it. What rapper has gone so far as to anger not only soccer moms and metal heads (Eminem, NWA), but the purists within the rap underground as well? Here enters Lil B's connections to a rap rebel, a pied piper, and a folk hero. While his songs range from light-hearted cooking music to vulgar sexism, his intentions are playful. Hell, he even wrote a book Takin' Over By Imposing the Positive!.
Critics will continue to scratch their heads at his ability to sell out shows and get hundreds of thousands of people to do the cooking dances. Lil B will continue his constant twitter stream, and will continue to rap over everything from Andra Bocelli to Imogen Heap. All we can do is sit back and watch as what is revolution and rebellion in its purest form today take over.