Review : Lil B - I'm Gay (I'm Happy)
SlantmagazineIt wasn't obvious from the get-go, but by now it's reasonably clear that Lil B wants to save rap. At first blush, there's no one less qualified: He's a social-media celebrity who tweets effusively to his fans, a swag-less MC with no discernible skill at rapping and no discernible interest in improvement. On I'm Gay (I'm Happy), Lil B is more likely to talk circles around himself than do anything like rapping. He sounds lost and unfocused, rambling through clunkers that would get a seventh-grade MC booed off the stage of a talent show. He says hilariously bad lines like he means them, and sounds tempted to laugh at some of his own despairing observations about life in the ghetto. He's more meme than musician, and yet on the first track of the album he compares himself to Martin Luther King Jr. and claims he's about to "go against everything you believe."
Part of what makes Lil B so unpredictable is that he's completely uninterested in the conventional industry pursuit of money, power, and fame. We can assume that I'm Gay (I'm Happy) wouldn't have been a blockbuster even without Lil B's active role in tanking its commercial prospects, though it's funny to see how just how much delight his detractors take in repeating its abysmal sales (less than 2,000 copies in a week). Alienating title aside, Lil B dropped his album on a Wednesday night with no single and no promotion, then gave it away online the next day because he says he loves his fans even if they don't have 10 dollars to spend on his work. Supposing an artist was to harbor the naïve perspective that music exists solely for self-expression, would we even be able to...full text
ConsequenceofsoundIn a way that’s hard not to relate to the hullabaloo raised over George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic’s P-Funk doctrine three decades or so ago, Brandon McCartney’s (or Lil B‘s) based “philosophy” is being met with sniggers and snooty derision by befuddled pressmen, YouTube trolls, and everyone in between — and with good reason. Splitting time between rapping about a ludicrous range of celebrities and internet memes and absurd stream-of-consciousness poetry over ambient synth music, the man hasn’t given anyone much room to take him seriously.
The point is, though (and, yes, there certainly is one), that B and his music aren’t for everyone. While it doesn’t completely quash the negative reviews (which are surprisingly sparse this time) and while it may well discount anything this review could say, the key point in B’s music is the audience it’s aimed at. Yeah, anyone can have a laugh with the guy as he swags himself out, comparing himself favorably to Ellen DeGeneres, or try their hand at his patented cooking dance, but most people couldn’t be expected to blink twice at the urban strife and social decay Lil B finds himself fixated on this time out. Suddenly, he’s aiming to be taken much more seriously. Yeah, he hinted at this sort of consciousness on a couple of recordings in the past, but this is full-fledged social commentary. (And he only says swag once!)
Case in point, the record’s most moving track, “I Hate Myself”. The track opens with a distorted sample of the Goo Goo Dolls’ schmaltzy ’90s hit “Iris”, which is about as far as most indie blogs would care to mention the track. The lyrics, though, while delivered in B’s typically boorish flow, tell the tale of a deeply troubled young man full of self-loathing for the caricature he appears to be in the eyes of random passersby, policemen, and even himself....full text
PitchforkA few weeks ago, the controversially titled I'm Gay LP that Lil B promised the crowd at this year's Coachella got cover art-- as well as an amended (I'm Happy) added to the album title. Now, the whole album has been released via iTunes now. Above, listen to the album's opening track, "Trapped in Prison"; below, check out the tracklist, as well as a Clams Casino-produced cut, "Unchain Me", which samples the Lost Boys' "Cry Little Sister"....full text
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