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!
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.
- Live: Lil B Brings His Light To NYU
- 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.
Jesse Untract-Oakner Lil B at the New Museum.
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."More »
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.
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 albumsoul samples, choking strings, rapping as slow darts of consciousnessthat, for a song called "I Hate Myself," lands on a gravitationally slowed sample of "Iris" by the Goo Goo Dolls.More »
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 alreadyNick Cannon, Fat Joe, Biz Markie, and Machine Gun Kellybut 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 spotand one plea to not use someone who's probably in negotiations with MTV as we speakbelow.
Bring back the home versions of game shows!
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 trackover 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.More »
So much to see, everywhere.
Friday, April 29-Sunday, May 1
Better than: Watching scene reports scroll by on Twitter.
In a lot of ways, the Bamboozle is a festival tailor-made for the current moment of constant distraction. The festival's running time over three days totals approximately 27 hours. There are eight stages of music, plus a stage for spoken-word and comedy bits. The 100-plus acts run the gamut, from critically approved hip-hop to critically reviled screamo to nostalgia-pricking acts from rock eras past. There's a wrestling ring where luchadores--led by the not very subtly named Dirty Sanchez--fling each other around; if that doesn't satiate your urge to watch competition, there's a breakdancing stage. There are carnival rides. There are tons of merch booths, some of which host autograph signings that attract long, snaking lines of eager fans. There's a psychic, an inflatable structure where one can procure free Trojans, and a place to charge your phone so you can keep up with the tweeting that details all the things you're missing. If you play your cards right and bring enough friends, it's quite possible to get a "full" Bamboozle experience without consciously hearing a single song in its entirety.More »
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