His madcap raps and pretty boy swag have confounded and captivated hip-hop. But is Lil B gimmick or godsend? Tracy Garraud takes a leap of faith with hip-hop's most interesting oddity.
Lil B’s nuttiness must have a source. Somewhere in the confines of his head lies the reason the 21-year-old rapper has become hip-hop’s beloved prince of absurdity with a penchant for alarmingly low-cut V-necks. Maybe it started with Lester, his Slim Shady-esque personality who visited for a week in 2005 (his childhood bestie claims it’s too grim to get into). It could stem from a middle-school love for natural disasters (“I liked science”). Or it could be the time he was 13, picked up a JVC camcorder, and recorded himself running around his Berkeley, California home screaming at the top of his lungs. He called this video “Hot Dog.”
“I like that I’m weird,” Lil B confesses while shuffling sugar packets in the corner of a downtown Los Angeles café on a mid-February day. He then launches into a start-and-stop stream of consciousness thought with all the clarity of a 5-year-old. “Cause I have nothing to hide. I guess I’m weird. So really I’m not weird. I’m just normal. Everybody else is, like, picking and choosing what they show. I’m just like, ‘Well, you do this? I do this, too.’ Shit. What is weird? If you think the homeless guy that’s standing on the corner that’s telling his experience is weird, then I might be weird, too. But if you think that homeless guy telling his experience might be something you can learn from, then you might be able to understand me.”
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