With thousands of freely distributed tracks, the “rare” hashtag has a strange and humorous meaning in relation to availability and value, referring to more traditional models of marketing music collectables, appealing to these same desires, the devotion of a focused completionist, replicated within the logic of torrenting / mixtape collecting. The sort of thing Simon Reynolds mentions in Retromania when he describes the ability and libidinal desire to collect more hours of music than is available within a human life to consume it, the act itself is a devotion. At once ‘rare’, ‘collectable’ and disposable. Beyond Motown’s hit factory, Lil B spills out excesses, to an audience just as compulsive in its collecting as Lil B is in his abundance of production. Lil B as a schizophrenic bubbling submersion in the internet (he claims to spend 22 hours a day online), a frantic liquid – I’m thinking of the end scene in Terminator 2 here – as process or conduit of the internet catalysing more forms, and as vomiting up of identities. An output which puts an impossible demand of collecting, consuming, contemplation for another world where more time is available? Plenty of hope – for Based God – no end of hope – only not for us. (Ahem..Sorry).
Extracts from NPR article by on understanding Lil’ B by Andrew Nosnitsky
“Equal parts musical performance, surrealist comedy act, motivational speech, celebrity meet-and-greet and dance party — this is the warped reality of Lil B, a.k.a. The Based God…
He raps about cat care and back pain. He raps about black liberation and becoming a deity. He jokes about being a nerd. He laments materialism and claims to be an incredibly wealthy ladies man in the same breath. …whose body of work look less like a musical catalog than a broad conceptual cross-media art project, or perhaps a relentless soundtrack to one young man’s compulsive disorder.
…By technical hip-hop standards some of Lil B’s rapping is close to horrible, sloppy and off beat or thematically incoherent. It’s a very punk rock approach, bypassing technical proficiency entirely in favor of getting an idea or emotion to tape in the fastest way possible. The method has its roots in the Based Freestyle, a formless and stream of conscious style of spoken word rapping that B invented around 2008.
…Songs like “Ellen Degeneres,” “Bitch I’m Bill Clinton,” and “I’m Miley Cyrus” mostly serve as absurdist experiments to see how catchy these names sound when they’re repeated. Though he’d never admit it, this side of his catalog occasionally feels like a satirical roast of rapper cliches. Lil B’s catalog is a labyrinth of inside jokes wrapped inside genuinely catchy and affecting songs where even its willing participants aren’t entirely sure of the borders. The lines are further muddled by his insistence that his every action, no matter how offensive, is a step towards the greater goal of positivity.”
See also: Village Voice’s ‘The Complete Guide to Understanding Lil B‘