How long does it take until a meme dies? This is something of a trivial question for most, since the idea of a dumb joke growing stale over a short period of time seems like a natural conclusion. But to a small generation of budding internet rappers who’ve had their careers go viral by creating popular dances or catchphrases, this becomes a matter of life or death. You could try and actually hone your talents and elevate your material beyond the ranks of humorous antics, or you could go in an entirely different direction: sticking to the farce for so long that people just accept it. Lil B has made a career out of the latter, somehow never getting tired of being in on his own joke — but that’s what also makes the self-proclaimed ‘BasedGod’ such an endearing figure in this era of hip-hop: he truly is going about things in his own unique way, much in the same spirit as pioneers like Run-DMC, or even the Beastie Boys.
So in-between retweeting photos of young women’s feet and getting stomped out by A Boogie wit da Hoodie’s crew, Lil B has found time yet again to bless listeners with another two-plus hours of outsider goofiness with 28 Wit a Ladder. Is the Berkley-native’s 52nd mixtape necessarily any better than the the previous ten? Not really, but there’s certainly still moments of unconventional inspiration, like the near minute-long, piercing instrumental build-up that leads into “Alien Booty,” or the country-twang of “Cowboy Riding Horses in Illinois” that features bars like “Young BasedGod even got love for the KKK.” Even when Lil B threatens to get semi-serious (a number of tracks are named after real life figures, including R. Kelly and the recently murdered Nipsey Hussle) there’s hardly a moment that doesn’t feel like an exercise in carefully calculated oddity, reassuring BasedGod fans that living-meme Christopher McCartney isn’t running out of steam anytime soon.
Published as part of What Would Meek Do? | Issue 8