Lil B at Mezzanine: What If Based God Was One of Us?
|Lil B at Mezzanine last night.|
April 21, 2011
For an extremely casual listener, I read and write about Lil B an awful lot. He's always up to something new, and it just seems imprudent not to; it's been less than a year and I already can't remember the first time I heard him or about him. ("Didn't nobody give a fuck about me a year ago," he said last night during a goopy talk-freestyle, one of innumerable outsized boasts that were totally true. Another one was "everybody in the rap game on my motherfucking dick.") So I was initially surprised to see so few people crowding into the Mezzanine, clamoring to get to the bar, eager to show off their spatulas and cook-dance moves. Reality check 1: maybe, if I had less professional motivation to care about Lil B, I wouldn't care about Lil B very much.
Reality check 2: Lil B has great taste in beats -- see "Base For Your Face," see "The Trap," see "Motivation" -- so how come I can't tell most of his songs apart? The famous numbers in his repertoire ("Wonton Soup" and "Vans" and "I Cook" and "Cold War" and what I think was "Charlie Sheen" but could in retrospect have been literally dozens of structurally identical songs) account for a negligible fraction of his output, and all come with extra-musical identifying marks: a dance, a raucous singalong chorus, a Clams Casino beat that's better as an instrumental anyway. Last night B seemed to have let's say 30 tracks queued up that he laid into in sequence, skipping ahead when he got bored (typically about a minute and a half in). Some were his own, some weren't; some he bothered to scrub the vocal track off, others not. Sometimes he rapped, sometimes he freestyled, sometimes he just talked in the manner of the terrible Rain In England, sometimes he just listened and hopped around the stage. He did what he felt like doing. He catered to his own attention span.