3. He Doesn't Care About Your Curfew
The last time Lil' B played in the Bay Area, over a year ago, he serenaded a sold-out Regency Ballroom for over two hours. And then he kept going. And going. Someone emerged from the wings to tell him to stop. Instead, he motioned to his DJ to drop the beat and kept going. Eventually, after even more songs, right at midnight, the house lights came up and the mic was cut off. Lil' B responded by jumping off the stage into the crowd. One by one, he hugged his fans. That's how the show ended.
4. His Curiosity About the Natural World is Endless
Again, this tweet is representative of dozens of others about animals and nature—humans reincarnated as dogs, for example, or the blessing of the gluteus maximus. But this particular one contains a special sort of wonder and awe:
5. He Put Out a Spoken-Word New Age Album
One day in 2010, I walked into Aquarius Records and heard what sounded like Deepak Chopra on mushrooms over an Enya B-side. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be Lil' B. Rain In England was released by Weird Forest records, who specialize in experimental noise and free jazz, and it's basically a constant stream of Lil' B's stream-of-consciousness philosophies.
6. He'll Stop the Show to Meditate in the Corner
No, really, he will. At that Regency Ballroom show, he wandered over to the side of the stage, sat down with a shirt over his head, and stayed like this for a good three minutes:
7. His Anthem of 2014: “No Black Person is Ugly”
You don't really need to know Lil' B's songs to enjoy his shows, but it helps to know a few hits ("Wonton Soup," "Ellen DeGeneres"). Beyond viral jokes and into the realm of anthems comes "No Black Person is Ugly." This year, while the killings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice by police sparked outrage, unease and marches nationwide, Lil' B came through with this simple, empowering reminder. (His follow-up, "I Can't Breathe," was released today.)
8. He Gets Asked to Lecture at NYU and MIT
What's more, he tends to win over new converts each time he does. Here is an account of his MIT lecture by Vice's Neil Martinez-Belkin, a former Lil' B skeptic who discovers profundity and beauty and leaves with a newfound appreciation. (Note at the end, when a campus policeman agrees.)
9. His Rap Meme is the Best Rap Meme
The phrase "Thank You Based God" has swept the likenesses of Glenn Beck, President Obama and James Van Der Beek. It even wormed its way into Fox News' coverage of Osama Bin Laden's death. What, exactly, is "based," you ask? Here we turn to Lil' B himself, from a 2010 interview in Complex magazine:
“Based means being yourself. Not being scared of what people think about you. Not being afraid to do what you wanna do. Being positive. When I was younger, based was a negative term that meant like dopehead, or basehead. People used to make fun of me. They was like, ‘You’re based.’ They’d use it as a negative. And what I did was turn that negative into a positive. I started embracing it like, ‘Yeah, I’m based.’ I made it mine. I embedded it in my head. Based is positive.”
10. Oh, Just Let a 15 Year-Old Explain It
Here's a text exchange from yesterday with my friend Evan, who's still in high school:
That basically sums it up, folks. Lil' B: All the decent things on the internet in human form. (And yeah, Evan, no problem on the ride.)
Lil' B plays Friday, Dec. 19, at the Phoenix Theater in Petaluma. Tickets, $30, can be found here.