The New Museum of Contemporary Art is far from any major concert venue in New York City. But no matter the location, Lil B knows how to draw your attention. The Based God started his performance—part of the museum’s monthly Get Weird music series —at 7pm sharp last night.
In the museum’s theater, the red lights dimmed to a darkish hue. The ambient #Based music stopped. Then Lil B hit the stage, clad in a tight baby blue V-neck, dark shades, and dirty jeans. Before kicking things off, he said history was made last night at New York University. Educational history? Check. Art history? It’s on the horizon. “I’m like an art history project right here,” he said. “Paint Lil’ B on this wall.”
He’s the type of rapper whose personality exerts such a magnetic draw on his audience that it doesn’t really matter that some of his stream-of-consciousness lines don’t rhyme or even make sense.
The room was not as packed as one might expect for someone who has hundreds of thousands of fans online. But the eager crowd immediately flocked towards the stage, participating in the hypnotic opener “I Own Swag.”
Next he switched into the filthy “Ima Eat Her Ass”—a Based freestyle whose title says it all. However, he was apologetic about the lyrical content. “Ladies, let this beat get your soul,” he said. “I’m sorry if I’m so nasty. I’m just a mammal.”
The Based God isn’t one to have a filter for his thoughts. In between songs, with instrumentals rumbling through the speakers, he rambled on topics ranging from protecting your family to protecting yourself from earthquakes. He also freestyled a few lines based on Titanic.
He’s the type of rapper whose personality exerts such a magnetic draw on his audience that it doesn’t really matter that some of his stream-of-consciousness lines don���t rhyme or even make sense.
Whenever he got into trouble, he’d just close out a thought with a laugh or one of his trusty ad-libs. (“Yeeah! You feel me?”) At one point, fans held up items from his self-made videos for him to wear. A sombrero, a pink bandana, and white pearl necklaces were all put on to elevate his swag.
Songs from his latest mixtapes—BasedPrint 2, #1 Bitch and Rap’s Godfather—all made their way onto his set list. On “Ho Stop Playin’,” he let the beat run long to make sure he got the vibe right, like “playing baseball with your pops.”
As much of an oddball as Lil B can be at times, his eccentricities only gave the audience more reasons to embrace him. “Feburary’s Confessions” and “Hip-Hop 2012” were like musical therapy, while “Suck My Dick Hoe” was, well, very Based.
Before becoming an icon in weirdo counterculture, Lil B was a member of the Berkeley-based group The Pack. Their biggest hit, “Vans,” sounded a little out of place in the context of his current catalogue of absurd boasts and thought-provoking rhymes. “Age Of Information,” his meditation on the pros and cons of modern technology, got a celebratory response from the crowd.
During his encore, which felt more like a fan hangout session, he previewed rough cuts from his upcoming classical album—not to be confused with the recently announced California Boi, Lil B's take on punk rock.
He opted to skip his celebrity song “Justin Bieber,” but ran through fan favorites “Bill Bellamy,” “Ellen DeGeneres” and officially ended the show with “Charlie Sheen” before inviting fans to crash the stage. “New York City winning!” he shouted, pointing the mic to all his fans to say “Winning!” along with him.
Lil B believes in making #rare appearances. During his encore, which felt more like a fan hangout session, he previewed rough cuts from his upcoming classical album—not to be confused with the recently announced California Boi, Lil B's take on punk rock.
The moody classical collection will surely make the rounds on the Internet, just like everything Lil B puts out. At the end of the encore, he launched into a Based freestyle until he ran out of rhymes. He was greeted by cheers and everyone yelling “Thank You Based God!”
Lil B says he is an art history project, but what’s really impressive is his Based philosophy of staying positive. He didn’t leave right away after the show, but stayed to give out free hugs. He promised to follow everyone in attendance on Facebook and Twitter.
He took photos, signed autographs and flashed a gold-fronted grin every time someone congratulated him. “I love you all so much,” he said at the end of it all. “This is the last time you’ll see me in this rare form because next time I’m about to transform.”
Written By Eric Diep (@E_Diep)