Health care reform, Martin Luther King Jr. and self-hate — these are all topics referenced on Lil B's I'm Gay album. But homosexuality? Not so much. Late Wednesday night, the Based God dropped his controversially named LP with no warning but a single tweet at approximately 9 p.m. PT.
"Buy my new project I'm Gay now!" B wrote, with a link to iTunes.
There are no gossipy tidbits or out-the-closet revelations. Instead, B raps of mental slavery over a jazzy loop on the album's intro track "Trapped in Prison." When the Based God first announced the album's title in April at Coachella he drew criticism from rappers, death threats from fans and concerns from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation about whether the album was a gimmick.
In his defense, Lil B said that his intent for the album was to breakdown barriers and show that words don't mean anything. "Don't let a word make you discriminate upon another human," he said when he appeared on "RapFix Live" this past May. "Because at the end of the day, no matter what you do, I should be happy for you, because you're alive. You're living life."
In the commercial sense, there are no records aimed at radio and no kinetic, celebrity-themed anthems (see past Lil B singles "I'm Miley Cyrus" and "Ellen DeGeneres"). I'm Gay is filled with midtempo, soul-sampling tracks. "Unchain Me" finds the Berkeley, California, rapper pondering his place in the world, and on "Neva Stop Me," he addresses the haters. "Words can kill, why he call the album that and how the f--- he feel," he raps with a relaxed tone. "I Hate Myself" is one of B's strongest proclamations, as he says, "I see myself in the mirror, but I don't see nothing," and goes on to address racial profiling and media persecution.
His message is poignant, no doubt, but the album title is misleading as well. In April, Lil B denied any notion of being gay himself, but to barely address the issue on the LP is a glaring omission. "I'm very gay, but I love women," he said at the time, referring to the alternate meaning of the word. "I'm not attracted to men in any way. I've never been attracted to a man in my life. But yes I am gay, I'm so happy. I'm a gay, heterosexual male."
Are you "happy" with Lil B's I'm Gay? Share your reviews in the comments.