Lil B, the Berkeley, Calif.-born rapper who released the surprise hit “Vans” while part of hip hop group the Pack in 2006 and has won solo stardom through MySpace hits like “Wonton Soup,” just dropped a new album, and it’s won us over at BlogPost in more ways than one.
Post music critic Chris Richards interviewed Lil B just before his concert in the District last October, writing that despite his need to hyper-share, Lil B “manages to imbue his music with a sense of intimacy, tempering oddball boasts with warmth and enthusiasm.”
Lil B released his enthusiastic new album “I’m Gay (I’m Happy)” on iTunes yesterday. Here’s why we love it:
1. His message
Lil B, who is heterosexual, chose the title “I’m Gay” for his album to send a message. Lil B told CNN:
I hope that I can turn some of my fans that might be homophobic or supporters that might be homophobic and say, "You know what, we're all one people. This is love." It's just respect, and I did that to bring people together and bring more love and to spark the minds of people and not let words and judgments and stereotypes stop you from loving.
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation told XXL magazine, “As a lyricist, Lil B knows that words matter. Slurs have the power to fuel intolerance. We hope that Lil B’s album title is not just a gimmick, and is really a sincere attempt to be an ally. He has the platform and the voice. We hope he uses it in a positive way.”
2. The album cover
The cover art of the album is an homage to Marvin Gaye’s song “I Want You,” featuring Ernie Barnes’s painting “Sugar Shack,” which the Awl points out was also featured in the opening credits of the TV Show “Good Times.”
Of course, Lil B isn’t the first to resurrect Gaye . Kanye West just got a hit out of a song entitled “Marvin Gaye and Chardonnay,” but we like anyone who likes Gaye.
3. He did it on his own
Music blog Complex writes: “Lil B just did the unthinkable and released his debut retail album “I'm Gay” on his own, out of nowhere.”
Brendan Frederick, an editor for Complex, tweeted:
Lil B released his retail album without it leaking. After over a decade of trying, no major record label has figured out how to do this.
4. And....the music
The three tracks we’ve heard have affirmed that Lil B could, indeed, fit into the genre of hipster rap, but that doesn’t mean we don’t like it. Unfortunately, the tracks are all expletive-laden, so we can’t embed them below. But we leave you with these lyrics from his track “I Hate Myself”:
“I'm ready to give up my old thoughts/I'ma move past what a saw/I'ma do what a want and be happy/I'm not gonna rob or kill to survive/Everything I seen was a lie/I'm not ready to die/I love myself...”