Lil B made headlines this spring when he gave away money on Twitter.
He’s continued doing that, always via Cash App, the mobile payment service owned by Square, a company founded and run by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey (yes, the infamous @jack). And recently, other rappers have followed the Based God’s lead: Travis Scott gave away $100,000 to fans using the app as well.
To find out why rappers are giving money to fans—and why they all seem to be using the same app to do it—I called Lil B. I also attempted to reach Travis Scott, whose representative did not respond. Cash App, for their part, released a statement. "We’re always working to broaden engagement with Cash App through a variety of promotions, both paid and organic. We don't comment on the financial details of any particular promotion," it said.
The Based God, though, was happy to talk. He was in Chicago, getting ready for a show at Cole Bennett’s Lyrical Lemonade festival. After catching up on the really important stuff—his famous cat Keke (the FIRST ANIMAL IN HIP HOP!) is doing great, and he just adopted another cat named Scrappy Doo—we got down to business.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
I saw that you were giving money away via Cash App. Can you give me the genesis of the idea?
I’m not done, either. I actually have some more money I’ll be giving away. I’mma try to give some away today [August 19].
How it came about was a gentleman reached out named Garrett—Cash App Garrett, and there’s a lady named Cash App C. These are what I call them. Cash App Garrett is an artist as well as a businessman. He reached out. He’s like, “Hey, we’ve got some business we’d like to do with you. We want to work together.” They respect my engagement and bringing things to the mainstream and getting marketing and awareness behinds brands and stuff like that. So they reached out and it’s been a success ever since.
Once I got a chance to download Cash App and see how fun and functional it was, I just became addicted to it. Now I’m a lifelong supporter and I’m just trying to give a couple of ideas of what I think to continue to grow Cash App. We had a dinner in San Francisco, [and] they told me about blockchain and Bitcoin, because you can buy Bitcoin on Cash App.
I actually got a chance to meet one of the engineers who works on blockchain. It was really inspiring because the lady that was working on blockchain and Bitcoin, she actually went to one of my lectures. I had a lecture at MIT a couple of years ago and she was there. So it’s just amazing to see her again. It was so inspiring. I’m like, “Man, this is why I want to live life, and this makes me happy.”
I respect what they’re doing in technology, as well as the groundwork and reaching out to people that care. I had a chance to go to the Cash App office in San Francisco. That was one of the biggest offices I’ve ever been to. It was just really exciting to be there, just seeing the people, seeing the vibes, and seeing that Cash App does care about people and finances. I want to give a big shoutout to Jack Dorsey. I got a chance to meet him real quick at Twitter. It was just really brief, but I could feel the energy and the energy was good.
The money that you gave away—was that your money, or did it come from Cash App?
They sent me money, but I chose to give it away. I look at my Cash App as money for the people.
Giving it away was your idea, or Cash App’s?
I don’t recall fully, but I think it was Cash App Garrett or Cash App C who came up with the innovative idea to give me some money to give out to my fans. They might have done that and started that history. Cash App Garrett and Cash App C get big props for making that idea, because now we got Travis Scott giving away $100,000 out of his Cash App account. You got the Spaghetti Boys giving away big money out their Cash App account and doing it in person. It’s really inspiring.
Really, I’m addicted to giving away money. I just need to get a lot more money—I would really like to personally give people money.
I think it was cash app who came up with the innovative idea to give me some money to give out to my fans.
In addition to the money you’re giving away, are they compensating you in any other way, with equity or anything?
That’s a question that we’ve been talking about for long-term play. We’re gonna have some meetings again. They see the insights. They know their impressions, and they see people talking. They said when I shouted [them] out on Twitter, their stocks went up, like, 2 percent or something like that. It only makes sense for us to team up long-term, so that’s what we’ve been talking about. We have a lot of different ideas, but [what] I have been really wanting [to do] is start Cash App Music. I think it’s gonna be really different. You’re the first to get that.
There’s a lot of things that I wanna do with them long term and really empower a lot of people. I want to empower people that’s rich and get them richer. I want to empower people that’s middle class and get them even richer. I want people that are lower class, whatever that means, and get them richer. I just want to make people happy. I just want to give people money. I love that.
Do you know any details of the other giveaways you talked about? Do they work similarly to the ways yours do?
I’m not sure. I think everybody has a different situation. Everybody is different. I can see Travis gave away $100,000 out of his account. It could have been through the company, and they could have teamed up.
I’m planning to team up with the company. I want to put up half of my funds and see what they can do. I think that Cash App is being really selective on who they’re working with, as well as looking for a world takeover in a positive way. Financially, they’re really bringing it to the youth.
Do you know why they reached out to you? Was it because they were fans, or because they saw how big you are on Twitter, or some combination of the two?
I think it was just a combination. I’m really with the people, with the culture, talking to all different types of people. I like talking to people directly. I follow the most people on Twitter—I think in the USA, I’m No. 1 or No. 2.
Cash App, Square, Twitter: Anything that Jack gets behind, I’m behind. I’m behind Jack Dorsey 100 percent. I’m behind Cash App C and Cash App Garrett 100 percent. I respect who respects me and who reaches out to me. I got a chance to see all the great stuff that they’re doing, and now they got a lifelong fan.
Anything else you want people to know about Cash App or you giving away money?
I want to give big respect to [Complex co-founder] Marc Ecko, legend. You know why? This is where it’ll tie in. I worked with GirlTime, which is something that I [had a] part [in] creating. I worked with GirlTime and Cash App, and we were sending money to different girls for selfies. Like, they might take a selfie and send it, or guys, too, [and] I send over cash.
It’s just a way to empower all people and let them know that I love them. So with GirlTime, going back to Marc Ecko, I remember we talked on the phone before ComplexCon, where I spoke. I remember he asked me, “What is GirlTime? What are you going to do with that, and what are you going to make it into?” I just wanted you to know, and I want y’all to let Marc know that I’m following his direction and it will be that company that he gave me some insight to. I’m working towards that. It’s just learning about business longevity.
There’s about to be way more music, man. Way more innovative ideas with the culture and music, getting to the next 10, 15, 20 years. My mixtape Options is about to drop soon. Just stay tuned.
What can you tell us about Options?
Options is going to be dope. I’m gonna be getting some exclusive production from the Based God. I got KeyBoard Kid on the production. I got Certified Hitz on the production, Lou Pocus on the production, Uptown Greg on the production, AJ Rice on the production. Just working with a bunch of older producers that I’ve been working with, as well as new. Focusing on the culture, tapping in with the culture. Know that a lot more collabs are going to happen this year and next year. We’re gonna be bringing it up.