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Lil B is Awesome

Lil B is not funny. I repeat, NOT FUNNY. He’s actually good. True, he can only rhyme on occasion and really the only way to describe his sense of rhythm is “decidedly fucked-up,” but you can’t help rooting for him. If you wanna criticize Lil B for valuing quantity over quality (exhibit A: “writing” and recording 676 horrendously-rapped songs for a mixtape) that’s one way to look at it. But another, preferable way is that his extreme productivity is also the key to understanding his art. Ryan Adams should take note.

I’m reminded of something Bill Evans said in the liner notes to Kind of Blue:

“There is a Japanese visual art in which the artist is forced to be spontaneous. He must paint on a thin stretched parchment with a special brush and black water paint in such a way that an unnatural or interrupted stroke will destroy the line or break through the parchment. Erasures or changes are impossible. These artists must practice a particular discipline, that of allowing the idea to express itself in communication with their hands in such a direct way that deliberation cannot interfere. The resulting pictures lack the complex composition and textures of ordinary painting, but it is said that those who see well find something captured that escapes explanation.”

Evans goes on to say that the same principles found in this visual art can be found in jazz music. I know it seems really silly that I’m pulling out a Bill Evans quote to talk about a guy who has a song called “Suck my Dick Ho” but bear with me. For Lil B, an unnatural stroke of his musical brush is a moment where one of his lines actually makes sense or rises above juvenile. Such an unnatural moment would ruin the unexplainably pure feeling that after the first half of a line, the second half could really go in any direction. And without fail, it always does.

Lil B essentially creates a musical discipline for himself. Erasure or changes are largely impossible. He could go back and try to come up with a rhyme for “dick” but that would not only feel unnatural, but cover up his exceptional personality. We’re not supposed to dwell on his last line or even last song for that matter. We’re supposed to move forward with Lil B at all times. He’s a charismatic motherfucker, so if in this line he says something incoherent we carry on listening with absolute certainty that in the next line he’ll be profound.

In many ways Lil B reminds me of the Ramones. These guys had very little technical ability and all the songs were not only insanely simple, but they all sounded pretty much the same. However, there’s something beautiful in the process of making music so quickly. And it’s not as easy as you’d think. Why don’t you try discovering how to write and play the catchiest song ever and just stick with that for an entire album or a 676-song mixtape? In a way, “Hey Ho, Let’s Go” was the precursor to “I’m Miley Cyrus.”

Ok, so now that you’ve read to this point, you’re free to laugh if you want. Maybe Lil B’s music should be funny… I’m not gonna lie; just thinking about his music now made me chuckle. I’ll retract my statement that his music isn’t funny. However, I’m adamant that it’s not just funny. It’s actually worth getting into.

Check this shit out right now:

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