Thursday, July 7th, 2011 at 12:28 pm
Artists: Lil B “The BasedGod”
Album Title: I’m Gay
Release Date: 6/29/201
As I sit at my computer thinking of how I could possibly begin my review of Lil B’s latest body of work, I realize that there is only one way to do so. I must start this review by saying thank you BasedGod, thank you very much. You have gone where no rapper has ever dared to journey, and by doing so you have made the world a better place. While my tone may come off as somewhat satirical, surprisingly enough, I’m being completely serious. Like many people, I used to think that Lil B was a complete joke, someone whose music was nothing but pure comedy with absolutely no intellectual value. However, when I first heard Lil B’s reasoning behind titling his new album I’m Gay, I came to the conclusion that I may have committed the worst of sins by having underestimated the BasedGod. All kidding aside, there is nothing extraordinary about Lil B’s skills as a rapper, but his skills as a human being have allowed him to craft a project so honest and real that it has earned praise from some of the most respected MC’s in the game like Lupe Fiasco. On the other hand, Lil B has received numerous death threats from homophobic fans disgruntled with the title of the album. However, nothing will dissuade the BasedGod from standing up for every person’s right to happiness, which is what the controversial title of the project ultimately symbolizes. Sticking up for his beliefs pays off for Lil B, as I’m Gay has the potential to elevate his place in hip-hop history from the clown who was best known for reviving the term “swag” to the man who created an unbelievably genuine album that changed the way many people perceive hip-hop culture.
Just for the record, Lil B is not gay. In fact he is quite straight. With that being said, it is even more commendable that BasedGod would put his career on the line to support gay rights, especially since it is something that has never been noticeably promoted in the hip-hop community. While the movement may overshadow the music, I’m Gay still surprisingly offers a great deal of quality material. From his beat selection to his lyrics, Lil B keeps it completely original by selecting production with unorthodox samples and by spitting about subjects that most rappers seldom discuss. The song “I Hate Myself” contains a sample of the late 90s hit “Iris” by The Goo Goo Dolls, and features Lil B concisely rapping about how he is personally effected by the way the media portrays African Americans when he spits:
“My lifetime came from struggle / All I’ve seen is what I follow / My skin color, automatic transaction / I’m already classified, no second chance… / People judge before they know me / Stare at me don’t know I’m lonely / Outside from these stares from police / And I get a bad rap because another man that look just like me / Think life a movie like Spike Lee.”
Lil B continues to discuss the commercialization of the African American race on the track “Unchain Me” by making a thought provoking comparison between the rap game and the slave trade. “Unchain Me” is a dope track because BasedGod goes in for three minutes, dropping knowledge left and right without being interrupted by a hook or chorus.
One of the most admirable aspects of I’m Gay is the fact that it artistically reflects the present. This is made evident on the song “Gon Be Okay,” which symbolizes the growth towards universal acceptance of people of all races, religions and sexualities (which is one of the main themes of the album). The song does so by sampling Japanese composer Joe Hisaishi’s “One Summers Day” and by beginning with a clip of President Obama speaking followed by Lil B addressing the fact that it is 2011 and times are changing. The BasedGod continues to dissect the present and the importance of living in the moment by using a computer as a metaphor for time on the song “Open Thunder Eternal Slumber” when he spits, “One day to live, cause you living in the moment / The past is the present, the gift is my performance / I’m working for the future cause I live in a computer / I could tell you things that I’ve seen / A lot of guns in the streets, saddened dreams / Space bar backspace trace your steps.” This is just one of many examples of Lil B exceeding expectations regarding his lyrical content. Another example can be found on the track “I Seen That Light” as Lil B keeps it coming with metaphors by spitting, “Last time I made love was when I wrote this song.” In addition to the dope lyrics, “I Seen That Light” also contains one of the most enjoyable beats on the album.
When listening to I’m Gay, one must keep in mind that there were little to no expectations regarding Lil B’s ability to come out with a quality album. With that being said, sometimes Lil B ‘s flow is a little off, and his word choice gets occasionally lazy. However, this is an artist who made his name by doing just that on songs like “Wonton Soup” and “Ellen DeGeneres.” So even when Lil B spits sub par on songs like “Neva Stop Me” it is still all good because he embodies the ignorant swag that got him to where he is in the first place. This is something that only Lil B could pull off.
Lil B never announced the release date for I’m Gay prior to dropping the album, nor did he heavily promote it. On June 30th he surprised his fans by spontaneously providing a free download link to the album via Twitter. More significantly, BasedGod surprised the world by coming out with an album that was remarkably good. But the thing that is most surprising is that he did so not by yelling swag or blurting out the names of random celebrities, but by creating social and politically conscious album that conveys an array of emotions. Therefore, I must end this review the same way I started it…Thank you Basedgod… you have proved there is a purpose to your presence.
Let’s face it – judging an album on a scale of 1 to 5 mics just won’t cut it — that’s more of a magazine thing. After constant office arguments regarding album ratings, we’ve decided to revise our album review process and fairly judge an artist’s work across multiple avenues. At iHipHop.com, we believe every album deserves an impartial review, taking into account both music and cultural relevance.