By Steven Roberts
Lil B, also known as The BasedGod, held his second show in New York to-date on Thursday (January 14) at the Highline ballroom. Like his first show at Santo’s Party House last summer in the Big Apple, the Berkeley, California native sold-out the venue as fans did their best to sneak by, text in favors and convince security who they knew inside without luck.
The rapper’s rise to fame is still a bit of a conundrum. He’s built a cult following thanks to social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr, but many people wonder if he’s a legitimate artist or an Internet meme. He’s garnered the attention of major music outlets, from us here at RapFix to the Fader to New York’s Hot 97 jock Funk Master Flex, but it remains to be seen if he can last making songs like “Wonton Soup” and “Pretty Boy” — even though these cuts are legendary #Based #Rare freestyle.
I don’t know if I got the answer to those questions last night as a member of the Highline audience either. I’m not quite sure what the hell I witnessed. All I know is… Swag.
Lil B hit the stage wearing an aqua-colored v-neck t-shirt that had to be two sizes too small, a pair of jeans he claims he always wears and his now infamous worn and dogged Vans. Looking into the crowd, it was clear that he was taken aback by the size of the sold-out audience. Say what you will about the BasedGod, but he was extremely grateful for their support and sincerely wants to connect with people and spread a message of positivity.
A performance of “Ellen DeGeneres,” which sent the crowd into a frenzy, kicked off the show. If you’re confused by the title, the song essentially boasts Lil B repeating the day-time talk show host/comedian’s name. Fans at the side of the stage could be seen cooking — a dance he’s helped to popularize where participants look like they’re mixing something in a bowl along with an array of other food prep moments — at a master chef’s level. He danced with them at times while the rest of the audience rapped along.
Throughout his set, Lil B stopped to address the audience about his message of positivity, sign autographs and collect random articles clothing. While awesome, these did contribute to considerable lulls in the show, along with performances of his more experimental material from the Rain in England LP, where he somehow raps over ambient music. A feat which he says he is the first to accomplish, I’m just going to take his word. And while he may not be the strongest lyricist, he does have some decent, “normal” rap songs. The crowd, however, was there to hear his based freestyles.
One of the most memorable parts of the evening was when he passed his mic around to the crowd so they could “Thank The BasedGod.” Many offered their mothers, girlfriends or themselves to be “f–ed” by him — a trend he started online.
There’s something very endearing about the eccentric, admittedly weird Lil B. He knows what he’s doing and it appears to be working. I just hope he continues to grow and evolve and his fans come along for the journey. I left the show as confused as many of you must be reading this, but I must thank the BasedGod for a wonderful experience.
Did you attend Lil’ B’s New York concert? What did you think? Tweet us at @MTVRapFix or tell us in a comment below!