Based & Rare: Is Lil B The Meme Rap Godfather?
Over the course of his career, Lil B has confused just as many as he’s inspired.
When I first heard Lil B, I was fairly certain I was being trolled. There was little to no consideration for rhythm, patterns or tempo. Some of the lines made no sense, and the audio quality was terrible, but the guy had already amassed a cult-like following, which irritated and confused me. It wasn’t until years later when his “I Love You” video caught my eye that I finally learned what it was to be Based.
In anticipation of the upcoming second season of their show on VICELAND, Noisey produced a mini-documentary that profiles the Based God and what it truly means to be Based.
It’s clear to me now that the reason Lil B has been able to accomplish so much is because of his overwhelming positivity and compassion, both key components of the Based lifestyle. It’s also important, however, not to discount the pure genius behind Lil B’s rise to becoming an artist that Kendrick Lamar would mention in the same breath as Lil Wayne as “the most influential.”
As Lil B mentions in the documentary, he was one of the first rappers to truly embrace the meme culture, turning countless random photos into “Thank You Based God” memes, a simple yet effective visual representation of the “everything goes” attitude behind the Based movement.
Since the days of the simple TYBG memes, a whole subculture within hip-hop has spawned, driven by memes—a door that if not unlocked by Lil B, was absolutely held wide open by him while wearing a warm, sincere smile.
Meme Rap is now a legitimate subgenre of hip-hop, and artists like Migos and Rae Sremmurd are seriously cashing in on the meme-ification of their music.
One of the more mind-boggling—and kind of endearing—aspects of the internet is the near impossibility of proving the origination of anything. It seems there are a thousand firsts for everything, and a global network means that hunting down who started what is usually a fruitless task.
With that in mind, it becomes less of a question of Lil B being the originator of Meme Rap and the culture it's spawned, but more of an appreciation of his contribution, a gratitude.
That is, after all, the Based way.
By Brent Bradley. Follow him on Twitter.
Photo Credit: Noisey