Lil B: The Interview


An interview with Lil B is pretty damn rare, both in the conventional sense of the word and the Lil B sense. The guy doesn't seem to find much time to talk to journalists due to his neverending recording schedule, and when interviews do happen he tends to drop a metric ton of knowledge on whoever he happens to be speaking to, leaving you with the sense that you just had a conversation with a spiritual advisor and not the rapper who's playing our Village Voice 4Knots Music Festival After Party at the Music Hall of Williamsburg this Saturday. Last week, Lil B and I linked up for a very Based, legendary, and positive Skype conversation while he was in Japan. We discussed his upcoming rock album, animal rights, and his philosophy on life.

See also: The Complete Guide to Understanding Lil B

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Producer Clams Casino on His "Weird" Relationship with Our 4Knots After Party Headliner Lil B

Clams Casino

Whether or not Lil B is trolling the Internet, doing some sort of satirical performance art, or just having fun rapping about looking like Jesus Christ and Paris Hilton, there's no question that his knack for picking producers borders on mastery. That's mostly because he's managed to find beatsmiths who can deliver sounds that accentuate his eccentricities while still keeping his songs on track. It's not like hip-hop production was saved or even in need of saving before the coming of the so-called "Based God," but having an artist like New Jersey's Clams Casino (real name Mike Volpe) around has helped music exponentially over the past few years.

Listening to a Clams Casino production, regardless of whether or not Lil B was spewing something over it, is akin to falling asleep on opiates and drifting into a floating, hazy cloud of dreams. Even if Lil B is rapping lines that sounded like "nonsense" to some, the beats always keep your ears locked on the track. Since Clams Casino's initial work with the Bay Area rapper, we've heard countless imitations. The irony of it all, though, is that it didn't even start out with truly serious intentions or aspirations.

See also: The Complete Guide to Understanding Lil B

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"Lil B Saved My Life": A Letter About Our 4Knots After Party Headliner

On Tuesday, as you're no doubt aware, we announced that enigmatic and prolific Bay-area rapper Lil B will headline our official 4Knots after party with special guests of his choosing. Shortly after that, for the uninitiated, we posted "The Complete Guide to Understanding Lil B," which is just what its title proclaimed: a comprehensive unpacking of the complicated world of the Based God. The post was written by Drew Millard, a man with certified Lil B credentials and an all around Based (read: posi) dude. Shortly after the guide went live on our site, Drew got an email from an extremely appreciative Lil B fan. "Lil B saved my life," the email said. It was written by a young man named Mike. It's pretty uplifting. So too is ... the six minute plus tribute song Mike wrote about Lil B, "Thank You Based God," a YouTube of which he also included in the email. With his permission, both are included here. Read the letter and listen to the song after the jump. SWAG!

See also: The Complete Guide to Understanding Lil B

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What To Expect At Tonight's Lil B-Themed Party "I'm Lil B"

Categories: Lil B

lil b glance560.jpg
Lil B
It's been nearly a year since rapper/spiritual guru Lil B blessed the hallowed halls of New York University with his unique brand of lecture, and electronic provocateurs Silent Drape Runners are marking the occasion by throwing "I'm Lil B," an event that they're describing as "A #Rare #Based Live Re-Soundtracking Discussion and Party." The duo are promising a night featuring a re-scoring of Lil B's NYU lecture, a panel discussion and a dramatic reading of B's tweets tonight at Brooklyn art space 285 Kent.

We spoke to members Russ Marshalek and Sophie Weiner about how this party came together, and what Lil B means to them.

See Also:

- Live: Lil B Brings His Light To NYU
- Beyond Lil B And His Cat Keke: A History Of Rapping Animals

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Beyond Lil B And His Cat Keke: A History Of Rapping Animals

Lil B and Keke

Last week, bizarro rapper Lil B released what he claimed was the first song to feature a real live animal rapping when he recorded his domestic short-hair Keke and uploaded the footage to YouTube. (Warning: You probably need to be hopped up on some sort of special ADHD medicine to appreciate its nuances.) Before Lil B brought his cat to the studio though, there exists an esteemed history behind the idea of rapping animals, whether through the wonders of animation or impersonation. Here's a quick play-session through the vault.

See also:
- Six Very Important Interactions Between Rappers And Dogs
- Pictures Of Rappers' Cats, and a Snoop Dogg Feline Bombshell!

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Live: Lil B Absorbs The Audience, Talks Axl Rose And Trayvon Martin At New Museum

Jesse Untract-Oakner
Lil B at the New Museum.
Lil B
The New Museum
Thursday, April 12

Better than: Quietly contemplating a painting.

1. In the small downstairs theater of the New Museum, a projector's light beams onto Lil B, building his shadow. A camera drifts with him from behind, following him in a light trails. It brings the otherwise undecorated space into a soft, bluish focus, B floating coolly through it. There's little distance between B and the crowd, just a small disparity in the altitude of the stage. He sweeps his hands over the front row as if to pull them closer. As with his lecture at NYU, he empowers the audience, but this time in a different, more physical way. In the prolonged coda of the show, as arrhythmic keyboard washes spread thinly from the lone PA, he tells the crowd, "Just close your eyes and trust everybody in the building. We all good."

2. He lapses between songs into "based" freestyles, which are sort of relaxed, unpressured word streams. "I keep my head down/ I'm walking hopeless/ Every day I keep my mind open/ Third eye open/ I'm dope/ I don't believe in Illuminati/ I don't believe in nothing/ I believe in people."

3. He announces two different upcoming releases: A single from his cat Keke, and a new "classical" album from The BasedGod, who produced the album Rain in England in dense, untethered synths structured around the refrain of "Three Blind Mice." Lil B will not rap over The BasedGod's album. He speaks briefly about California Boy, his upcoming rock album, in a monologue otherwise about Axl Rose. "Why didn't he want to be included in the Hall of Fame?" B asks. "I rock with Axl, man. I'm an old-school Guns N' Roses fan."

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Live: Lil B Brings His Light To NYU

Lil B (lecture)
Eisner & Lubin Auditorium, NYU
Wednesday, April 11

Better than: College.

Lil B walks onto the stage of the Eisner & Lubin Auditorium in a dayglo yellow shirt, which combats for brightness with the stage lights. Those first images you get when you stare at the sun and then close your eyes, the infrared shapes that blossom behind your eyelids? It's as if they'd swollen into shirt form. A scarf draped around his neck is patterned with more tender blondes and greens, and his Vans are firmly aged into a sandy brown, evenly unwashed. It's like staring into an optical illusion: B moves and the light shifts around him. Elemental synths issue from the speakers, gently recalling the sound of his 2010 album Rain in England. It's like a cloud hugging you in the sunlight, warm and enveloping. NYU provides him with a long, clinically-shaped table, on which he leans or illustrates his sleeping patterns. "Nyah, honesty, integrity, loyalty, passion, friendship," go his quixotic naps.

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Lil B's The Basedprint 2: The Hastily Assigned Homework Assignment For Tomorrow Night's NYU Lecture

Editor's Note: Tomorrow night, Lil B is speaking at NYU; yesterday afternoon, he released a mixtape that he said was required listening for the students attending his lecture. We had Brad Nelson, the Lil B scholar who will cover tomorrow's lecture and Lil B's Thursday night performance at the New Museum, chronicle his first reactions to the tape.

At the start of The Basedprint II, the new mixtape by Lil B, he advises us that there's "no need for volume one." On the cover he is hastily photoshopped over Jay-Z, edges widely lassoed, triangles of background newly part of the face. He employed a similar deconstruction of classic hip-hop album art on White Flame, with his smiling absorption of Soulja Slim's Give it 2 'Em Raw. On the cover of Silent President he launched a rendered, golden profile of himself into the ornate and regal teeth of Watch the Throne.

Lil B usually deals in interpolation, from hip-hop and other forms, but the signal-to-noise ratio is always slightly off, misshapen. I'm Gay, his 2011 album, is a tonally straightforward backpack rap album—soul samples, choking strings, rapping as slow darts of consciousness—that, for a song called "I Hate Myself," lands on a gravitationally slowed sample of "Iris" by the Goo Goo Dolls.

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Three Rappers Who Should Be The Center Square For MTV2's Hollywood Squares Reboot (And One Who Definitely Should Not)

Bring back the home versions of game shows!
Next month MTV2 will debut Hip-Hop Squares, a rap-centric takeoff on the "tic-tac-toe with trivia and celebrities" game show Hollywood Squares. (The non-genre-specific version of the show aired its last episode in 2004.) The show will be hosted by Hot 97's Peter Rosenberg, and MTV has announced a few of the participants already—Nick Cannon, Fat Joe, Biz Markie, and Machine Gun Kelly—but has yet to make public who will be in the center square, which serves as the linchpin of the board and, more importantly, the comedic linchpin of the show. Sure, the reboot is allegedly going to be "more party than game show," and dude-centric-programming perennial Bam Margera is somehow involved. But the tradition of the center square, as established by the ever-acerbic Paul Lynde, is still hallowed, and given its strategic importance in the game it will probably have to be staffed by someone loaded with riffs. (Unless MTV2 goes all crazy on us and turns the "square" into, I don't know, a trapezoid. Hey, it could happen!) Three suggestions for that hallowed spot—and one plea to not use someone who's probably in negotiations with MTV as we speak—below.

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Sorry For The Weight: Lil Wayne's New Mixtape Full Of Empty Posturing

Lil Wayne's mixtapes used to be events in rap. His incredible work on the Dedication and Drought series gave birth to the Mixtape Weezy that could credibly claim to be the best rapper alive in 2006-07, a rapper so good that Jay-Z admitted on his otherwise rapper-loathing "D.O.A." that he "might send this to the Mixtape Weezy." Even Weezy's pre-incarceration tape, No Ceilings, flashed the brilliant, offbeat wit that made Wayne a show-stealer for the better part of three years. Sorry 4 The Wait, released today, finds Wayne getting his show stolen.

Sorry is ostensibly an apologia for the delays plaguing Tha Carter IV, now dropping at the end of August; it could have restarted the hype train for that album, but instead reinforces the growing assumption that Wayne's lost more than a little joie de vivre. The 2011 Weezy is on everything but fire, full of empty threats (having someone else shoot for him is a frequent boast, and admittedly smart for a guy convicted of gun possession), and trotting out come-ons (to "bitches," natch) that won't sound appealing to anyone who has heard Weezy be authentically sexy, as on "Motivation." Listen to the mixtape through and it's hard to decide which of those approaches is most disappointing; catch the "Yeah, Weezy go hard like Cialis" line on the titular outro track—over a stripped-down version of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep"—and it's hard not to feel bad for him, diminished to tellingly flaccid bars.

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