Album Reviews

Lil B – I’m Gay (I’m Happy)

on July 07, 2011, 7:58am
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In a way that’s hard not to relate to the hullabaloo raised over George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic’s P-Funk doctrine three decades or so ago, Brandon McCartney’s (or Lil B‘s) based “philosophy” is being met with sniggers and snooty derision by befuddled pressmen, YouTube trolls, and everyone in between — and with good reason. Splitting time between rapping about a ludicrous range of celebrities and internet memes and absurd stream-of-consciousness poetry over ambient synth music, the man hasn’t given anyone much room to take him seriously.

The point is, though (and, yes, there certainly is one), that B and his music aren’t for everyone. While it doesn’t completely quash the negative reviews (which are surprisingly sparse this time) and while it may well discount anything this review could say, the key point in B’s music is the audience it’s aimed at. Yeah, anyone can have a laugh with the guy as he swags himself out, comparing himself favorably to Ellen DeGeneres, or try their hand at his patented cooking dance, but most people couldn’t be expected to blink twice at the urban strife and social decay Lil B finds himself fixated on this time out. Suddenly, he’s aiming to be taken much more seriously. Yeah, he hinted at this sort of consciousness on a couple of recordings in the past, but this is full-fledged social commentary. (And he only says swag once!)

Case in point, the record’s most moving track, “I Hate Myself”. The track opens with a distorted sample of the Goo Goo Dolls’ schmaltzy ’90s hit “Iris”, which is about as far as most indie blogs would care to mention the track. The lyrics, though, while delivered in B’s typically boorish flow, tell the tale of a deeply troubled young man full of self-loathing for the caricature he appears to be in the eyes of random passersby, policemen, and even himself.

No, he’s not as poignant, eloquent, or grandiloquent as perennial rap favorites Jay-Z and Kanye West, but there’s little argument about lines like the one Lupe Fiasco highlighted as I’m Gay‘s emotional crux in a great editiorial about the record: “The hood is a lie/Man, you better wake up before you’re dead or surprised.” It’s a line that’s meant to make waves and start conversations but would likely sail right over the head of anyone who isn’t invested in the struggle Lil B has suddenly decided to make the focal point of his music. And perhaps that’s the point. If his complete disregard for rap’s bloated status quo says anything, it’s that he, well, completely disregards said status quo and will continue to do whatever it is he feels like doing, even if that’s declaring Justin Bieber to be his cousin while attempting to lead a revolution in American urban culture. If this is the first taste of that, he’s off to a shockingly good start.

Oh, I almost forgot: thank you Based God.

3 comments

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Itay Kander
July 11, 2011 at 2:24 pm

toda raba basedgod.

Clayton Brown
July 7, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Lil B didnt JUST decide to rap like this about these topic matters. He HAS been doing so, you have just been looking at his musical fluff too much. Tupac was rapping about panther power and strife in his early days but then rapped about gangster shit, fun shit, and some ridiculousness. So before you try to comment on the based god, you should o your hw. The man has hundreds of songs. Not all of them are ambient or match up to societal standards of good rapping but he is genuine. Check out his songs Voices Carry, The Age of Information, Times Blue, The World is ending, The Trap, My history, I still cant sleep. He has threw in some gems in there that no one cares about and get significantly lesser views on youtube…why? Maybe we should ask ourselves why he has gotten more famous for rapping about idiotic memes and subjects. He has fooled you all, he is not as articulate but he is intelligent enough to work his way into a rap game many fail to prosper in and get into off the idiocracy of his Swag raps. What does that say about hip-hop, so before you judge I suggest we all re-ANALYZE and do our proper research and attack this Lil B dilemma from a multitude of lens/views.

Clubhollis
July 10, 2011 at 6:38 am

I completely agree with Clayton. These kind of records are not new to Lil B but these songs on his youtube have just a few hundred thousand views combined. While Wonton Soup abd Ellen Degeneres have over 4 million views alone. He puts out silly bullshit music and deep shit but his fun celebrity songs are more popular. If I a restaurant and I serve ramen noodles and steak for the same price yet everyone wants the cheaper faster easy to make ramen, who is the idiot the chef or the customers?

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