There are two dominant lines of Lil B discourse within the Internet I’ve created for myself: genuine appreciation of his positivity and unique brand of basedness, and a snarkier, mean-spirited vein that treats B as a sort of walking, talking LOL bank. The Internet and social technology have allowed for significant individualization of our online experience, but immensely popular sites like Buzzfeed and Tumblr’s “LOL” tag are still built upon a sense of otherness: here are people who are not like us. Look at the silly things they say and do. Look at these old people navigating Facebook. Look at these texts from my faux-gangsta cousin. If you aren’t a member of our homogeneous Internet society, you possess amusement potential. Lil B is not like us, it seems.
Anyway, I don’t know much about B, but my favourite song of his is “I Seen That Light”, from last year’s I’m Gay (I’m Happy). The soul sample it’s built on is buttery smooth and immediately accessible. The sheer size of Lil B’s discography can be very intimidating, but “I Seen That Light” is a safe entry point for new listeners. Early in the track, B tells us that “Last time I made love was when I wrote this song,” and that’s a touching line that serves as a tidy summary of his M.O. He wants to spread love to as many people as possible, and his music is the vehicle for that love. There isn’t anything even remotely sexual about it. These songs are love. He’s creating love in the studio and spreading it with every mixed-reception tape release. The joy that’s palpable on songs like “I Seen That Light” is wonderful to experience if you’re open and ready for it.
Also, in the next line he identifies as a teacher rather than a preacher, which has been rendered quite prophetic now that he’s a featured speaker selling out an NYU lecture hall.