sweet as the scratch

based influences

It's been a difficult 2015 in Basedworld. Back in January, Lil B's duplex suffered an electrical fire and B said he lost some costumes and music to the blaze. Then in May, Lil B said $10,000 dollars in cash was stolen from his hotel room. On top of all that, we've gone nearly half a year without any new music from Lil B, an abnormal break in output from the hyper-productive BasedGod. The only new material we've received from Lil B in 2015 has been a lecture at Carnegie Mellon (which I recommend watching).

With Lil B's unfortunate start to 2015 in mind, I want to do the Based thing and think about the positive—that is, to celebrate Lil B and based music's influence on today's rap and rap culture.

Gucci Mane, Soulja Boy and Lil B have been three of the foremost influencers of rap in recent years. Their music usually doesn't sound similar to each other, but one thing they have in common is their obsessive penchant for releasing music. Few rap artists have done better to capitalize on the access and potential for exposure the internet has given musicians. While each has made some great music, they all seem to value output nearly as much as the content they're releasing. It makes for a lot of mediocre songs and the occasional great one, but it's not a bad thing. That volume of output allows for experimentation and innovation that would be hard to come by otherwise—and the good thing for music listeners is that these rappers, especially Lil B, have inspired countless artists to take to YouTube and Soundcloud to release their own oddball music.

One of the coolest things about Lil B's influence is that it came in such a variety of ways. Many influential artists are notable for a unique style or sound, but Lil B has influenced the way artists dress, speak, perform, act on social media, ad-lib, market their music, release their music, produce their music, and of course, the way they write and rap.

Lil B's use of ambient production and his goofy ad-libs have become staples of current rap music, but for me, his most audibly pleasing element that has caught on is his use of repetition. He's not the first rapper to say the same words repeatedly in a song, but "Versace" and "Hannah Montana" may not exist at all if Lil B's "Ellen Degeneres" didn't come first with its simple chanted chorus hitting listeners over the head until it loses its meaning.

Many Lil B influences are probably those that don't even involve his rap. His candid, in and out of focus music videos that come out with impressive frequency have been imitated in both style and volume by tons of artists. His aggressive use of MySpace, Twitter, and YouTube have redefined what it means to cultivate a social media following. Before Young Thug challenged gender expectations and sexuality in rap by wearing a dress and painting his nails, Lil B (albeit, more blatantly) did much of the same thing, calling his album "I'm Gay."

It seems like Lil B can make anything a "thing." That's one of his greatest talents—trendsetting. Lil B is allowed to be so influential and set so many trends because of his inclusivity and his unassailable confidence and positivity. His magnetic tendency makes everyone, even other artists, want to emulate his music and styles.

I've often been guilty of wondering, "what's next?" for Lil B. It's a natural question to ask. He's been a part of a rap group with a major hit, he's produced videos, he's given lectures at prestigious universities he's beefed with NBA superstars, he's written a book, he's released thousands of songs spanning multiple genres and yet it feels like there could be something bigger. But this is Lil B. It's unlikely he'll ever win over the "are you Lil B fans just pulling a long joke on us?" listeners. It's unlikely he'll ever make a song that gets played on the radio or sells a bunch of records. He'll probably continue to make music for a long time to come and exist on the internet and in public appearances that are the stuff of legend. He'll exist in the based styles that other artists borrow and make their own. Most importantly, he'll continue to be the essence of cool and push other artists to experiment. That's a good a reason as any to say Thank You Based God.

The following songs all have Lil B influences in them, whether it be in the artist's production choice, lyrics, delivery or just the video. They are a mix of rap hits as well as random Soundcloud and YouTube finds:

0:00 "Automated Oceans (feat. Sea of Bees)" - Young L - Enigma Theory
3:24 "Ellen Degeneres" - Lil B - Based World
7:37 "BMF (feat. Styles P)" - Rick Ross - Teflon Don
11:49 "Wassup" - A$AP Rocky - Live. Love. ASAP
14:27 "Dangerous Minds 2010" - Lil B - Rain in England
20:08 "Pink errthangg" - Majjin $kii - (2010)
24:27 "Hannah Montana" - Migos - YRN
27:32 "Solarflare" - Young Lean - Unknown Death 2002
30:52 "All Gold Everything" - Trinidad James
34:01 "Age of Information" - Lil B - (2010)
38:52 "Without You" - Spooky Black - Black Silk
43:33 "Jamaican James (Think I'm Reggie Watts)" - Tre Hood Himself - (2013)
47:02 "Up Next" - Lil B - (2010)

-- bert

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