Friday, March 18, 2011

tracks: lil b - various tracks

via space age hustle

Lil B has been blowing up lately, but honestly it's a strange sort of success he's enjoying.  I've been a fan of Lil B since his days in The Pack, and a few of his latest tracks (especially the ones on this mix) I think are some of the best rap tracks being produced today.  Despite that, the fact remains that by almost any criteria you might want to use, Lil B is a terrible, terrible rapper.  In fact, one of the first things that made me a fan of Lil B is that he is so bad at rapping.  It's a debatable point I suppose, but if you look for cleverness, complexity, and actually rhyming in rap, Lil B is definitely awful.  So what's with all of the hype then?  Lil B's inability to construct actual raps are part of his larger persona, which is that of unpredictable weirdness.  Its impossible to guess what Lil B will do or say next, much less guess if he's going to bother to construct a rhyme at the end of a verse, and that is what critics and fans love about him.  That definitely makes it seem like the majority of the attention he is getting is from non-rap fans ironically enjoying a rapper for being strange, rather than for his music.  Of course, the nature of hip-hop is such that persona is always at the forefront, so it's hard to be too disappointed in people focusing on the rapper and not on the rap, but I can't help but imagine this probably grates fans of actual rap music the wrong way.  Personally I tend to focus more on production in rap than on actual mic skills, so it doesn't bother me much.  And Lil B's persona is really entertaining, especially his goofy motivational self-help positivity side .  But what I like best about Lil B is that he chooses to rap over unusual beats that you might not hear more conventional rappers utilize.  The "Illusions of Grandeur (Remix)" at the top of this post is a great example of this; Lil B says virtually nothing of interest on the track but its got such a huge vibe that it succeeds in spite of his shortcomings as an MC.

Lil B-Base For Your Face (Ft. Jean Grae & Phonte) by EverythingSwagBased

This Lil B track on the other hand, produced by 9th Wonder and featuring talented word twisters Jean Grae and Phonte, takes the wrong tact.  That's not to say it's a bad song, but there's pretty much no reason that Lil B should be on this track.  It's a bad fit, and makes it seem as if the established rap world hasn't really figured out how to approach Lil B yet.  Personally, I'm hoping that Lil B sticks with the more far-out style of beats.... and that some label or producer manages to step in and do some quality control so that we can get one really good Lil B album rather than dozens of mediocre ones.

Extra: A ridiculous and hilarious track-by-track review of the 676(!!!!!!) tracks Lil B has released over dozens of myspace pages.... it's EPIC.

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