It’s hard to keep track of Lil B’s prodigious output. Over the last four years the rapper has recorded seven albums, over 40 mixtapes, posted a hundred thousand tweets and amassed more than 87 million views on his YouTube page. His memes have been nurtured both online and IRL by a fan base that rivals Beliebers in terms of sincere, vocal dedication. He’s the originator of the indelible cooking dance, the founder of what he calls Based philosophy and he is a published author – “First rapper ever to write and publish a book at 19,” his Twitter bio crows. His online (hyper)activity has laid the foundation upon which weirdcore rappers like RiFF RAFF and Sweden’s Yung Lean have built their profiles.
He’s been described as “the wackest rapper of all time” (by The Game) and “the most important rapper of the decade so far” (by LA Weekly). This week sees the cult figure heading out on his first tour of Australia. I call the self-described Based God while he’s driving around his home town of Berkeley, California, and he is upbeat. He is relaxed but emphatic, delivering (sometimes meandering) statements about what it’s like to be Lil B, saying ‘definitely’ a lot.
Is it true that you’re wearing a very old pair of Vans all the time?
Those Vans are worth over 75 grand now. Y’know, what’s funny is that I was just thinking about them before you said something about them. There were some superfans at my last show, and this girl got escorted out because she kept grabbing onto my shoes. These shoes are very rare artifacts – I like to keep them preserved.
It was very disturbing seeing her clinging onto these shoes, as a fan, and almost breaking them apart. But the shoes are good. They’re unharmed.
Are you wearing them right now?
I’m not wearing them right now. I’m just trying to keep them as preserved as possible to come out and see the Based family.
Speaking of Vans, are there any plans for The Pack to get back together with new material?
Definitely. We’ve been talking recently, and we’re about to get things back in. Everything is looking good and on-schedule.
This year? Next year?
We’ll try to do some stuff this year. Maybe December. We’ll try to lock something in.
Are you familiar with a website called Klout? It looks at what you’re doing on social media and gives you a score based on how influential you are.
Woah – I would love to check it out. Definitely.
For example, Barack Obama has a score of 98. You have a score of 79, so you’re getting there.
That’s love. I appreciate it. Respect to the Klout. Me and Barack have a few things in common over the social media aspect of things.
I definitely have a historical Twitter. Definitely one of the biggest on Twitter. Definitely.
Have you been working with any more Clams Casino beats?
Yes. Actually, I’ve got a show coming up with Clams in New York. So I’m definitely gonna be talking to him and getting some things together. It’s definitely gonna be dope.
What other artists are inspiring you right now?
Not too many. But everybody. In music, everybody is right now. It’s a beautiful situation – people are really wanting music right now, and wanting to be a part of it. I think it’s great.
I’m extremely happy about music altogether, and the history that I’ve made. How I changed the world, music-wise, music over the internet and stuff like that. It’s crazy – I’m in the vortex right now.
Have you tried Google Glass?
I haven’t, but I’ve got major love for the Google team out here in the Bay Area. Also, shouts out to Google family Fink, who works at Google.
What are your favourite hashtags right now?
#based #thankyoubasedgod #staypositive
Have you got any plans to write another book?
Yeah, I have been, and I’ve got things together. I actually have been in the process of writing. I got the title, and now it’s about ‘How am I going to put it together?’, and stuff like that. But the core message is there, and I’m definitely excited about people reading this next one. The first one’s a like a collector’s item: super-rare and extremely positive.
This stuff takes time because I don’t force it, and I don’t like to force it. I’ve just been keeping it as honest and truthful as possible.
Thank you, Based God.
No, thank you.
Niche Productions presents Lil B with special guests
Thursday 13th June – The HiFi – Melbourne. (Tickets.)
Friday 14th June – Coniston Lane – Brisbane. (Tickets.)
Saturday 15th June – The Standard – Sydney. (Tickets.)
Sunday 16th June – The Bakery – Perth. (Tickets.)