Fire Starter: Lil B
Hip-Hop has always been filled with eccentric, over-the-top personalities. Acts like ODB, Kanye West and even Lil Wayne have drawn plenty of "oohs" and "ahhs" with their rhymes, but they've also raised a few eyebrows with their antics. But when it comes to unique personalities, rapper Lil B is certainly making a name for himself.
A member of the Berkeley, California, group the Pack, Lil B has emerged as a force all his own. He's amassed quite a following, written a book titled "Takin' Over" and recently performed a sold-out show at Santos Party House in New York City. The self-proclaimed "based god" has released hundreds of songs and videos (for his "based" freestyles and songs) in hopes of getting people together.
"Well, based really is being yourself, being positive, not really worrying too much about what people think about you. Really saying what comes to your mind first," Lil B told Mixtape Daily. "It's like unconscious. Really not premeditating, saying, 'Imma do this, I'mma say this, I'mma be this way,' but really just going with the flow."
Lil B (real name Brendan McCartney) described his based style as free-association freestyles, in which he, yes, says the first thing that comes to mind. He said he's recorded about 1,000 freestyles over the last year and started to become one with himself as a result of all that studio time.
"I really started seeing and respecting all these different artists and really get a chance to venture out of just rap," he said. "That really changed me and now, I say ... like collective music I have, last time I checked on my iTunes, I have about 1,500 songs, including freestyles. I probably have about 800 freestyles right now."
Social-networking sites have really helped B to spread his music. He said he was late getting onto Twitter, but since he's joined, he's grown as an artist and more people are watching.
"I made about 155 MySpace pages. I really hold the world record for that. It was crazy. I have seven songs each page, so five songs the minimum, so that's times 155. That's when I started and I was really doing it for one supporter. There was one guy. He was on there like 'Man, I love your songs.' I was like, as long as one person's listening to me and one person cares about me, I'm going to keep going."
But B also explained that although he's evolving personally, keeping a higher profile with sites like Twitter has also left him open to be judged.
"A lot of people were shocked. A lot of people have mixed emotions," he said of the growing response to him. "A lot of people were happy about it for change, me being an honest [person]. A lot of people were happy with the honesty."
B said he is currently working on a mainstream album titled Rain in England to be produced and composed solely by him. He also claimed it will be the "best hip-hop album to come out in rap history." Given how off-kilter his material is, B is humbled by the fact that so many people have gravitated to it.
"Like I said, I started doing it originally for one person. Just one person respecting it, and I just kept going. I'm very humble and I'm very appreciative of everybody that respects what I'm doing. I take pride in really being a true artist, loving music and really being more honest than ever and creating emotions."