Muhammad Ali once said, “It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.” For Lil B, repetition is both his greatest weapon and one of the biggest knocks against the Bay Area rapper. With his new mixtape, 05 Fuck Em, a 101-track effort that Based God followers had been anxiously awaiting for most of 2013, Lil B has crafted a consistent album that showcases his ability to maneuver his persona over a number of different production styles. The backing track might change, but we’ll always get the same Lil B, confidently telling us he’s the best rapper and how he has more bitches than we do. You may believe that as much as he does by the end of the almost six-hour runtime.
Despite existing primarily on the internet, Lil B has become something of a household name in the last year or two, preaching positivity and love on Twitter, spreading the #based word across the globe. With 05 Fuck Em, Lil B stakes his claim as the only rapper who could make such a concept work without dreadfully undercooking it or taking years to put it together. Only six months went by between mixtapes before we were blessed with the based gift on Christmas Eve, but it doesn’t seem like that was a hurdle Lil B had any trouble jumping over. In 2012, he put out a new tape month after month, most of them around 20 tracks, making 101-new tracks in six months seem strangely manageable. Cloud rap, hyphy, trap, all different styles that Brandon McCarthy has explored in the past, are fleshed out on this album. Some might complain that all of the songs on this tape sound the same, but those couldn’t have made it through the entire thing, because this is arguably the most complete and complex piece of work that Lil B has produced to date.
It might be best to listen to the tape in its entirety via YouTube or DatPiff’and forget paying attention to track titles, because at a certain point it becomes difficult to tell where one song ends and the next begins. Even with that caveat, there are still near a dozen standouts, as one could expect from an album this size. “No Mo Blow”, “Rob the Jeweler”, and “Hummus or Crack”, just to name a few, serve Lil B and the listener well with a number of different production styles. He raps over System of a Down’s “Toxicity” on “Im the Rap God”, not something many others would be willing to try; as a result, he sounds like your friend’s blunt-smoking roommate doing an impression of MC Ride on the choruses. “GOR (God of Rap)” is a ten-minute epic, a three-part beat that starts off with a Barton Fink sample and an atmospheric guitar and drum beat before evolving into a Bay-soaked cloud rap and a bombastic rock rap finale that sounds like Evanescence maybe could have been involved.
There will be the dissenters, as there always are with the Based God, and an album that takes a fourth of the day to listen to won’t draw in legions of new fans. But both the diehards and casual fans of Lil B are sure to find something they like in the avalanche of new material. If nothing else, Lil B has proven once again that he can never put out too much new material, and his signature flow and persona aren’t getting stale at all. Maybe his “Control Response” is far-fetched for his talents, but it’s not like he’s struggling for relevance.
Essential Tracks: “GOR (God of Rap)”, “No Mo Blow”, and “Kurt Angle”