Friday, March 30, 2012

Lil B - I'm Gay (2011)

Let's get the hyperbole out of the way first:

This is the best rap album I have ever heard. It is one of the most powerful and epic and inspirational and sincere and joyous collection of songs I have ever heard.

Now, I'm sure at least a few of you are thinking.....dude who doesn't typically listen to rap music hops on the Based God bandwagon like countless other white dudes who only occasionally dabble in the genre as novelty, but hear me out. Despite that I have only posted a single rap/hip hop song out of the nearly 500 public posts here on BS, I used to be quite an aficionado. I had an entire hard drive full of rap (aka "The Rap Drive") and was known to listen to beats as often as ballads. The reason you don't see a lot of rap mentioned on here, is because a) the aesthetic of this blog isn't really geared towards rap (obviously) and b) since the creation of BS and until the beginning of this year I've been pretty depressed and haven't really been in the mood for hip-hop. That being said, I'm Gay (which is a bold play on semiotics and statement on how silly and archaic the homophobia which often plagues the genre is) is about, yes, happiness. I've been depressed for longer than I can remember, and hearing this album now that I'm finally content is such a truly beautiful experience. It's like the sun has come out for the first time.

Let me tell you why this album is so special. For starters (and this is a big thing for most people who aren't big rap buffs), the production is flawless, god-tier. The samples are exquisitely selected and often unconventional, with a few examples being Slowdive (!!) and a screwed version of Goo Goo Dolls (which might sound frightening but is actually quite nice). The beats and hooks are solid too. Because of the quality of the music, I consider I'm Gay to be a pop album.

The lyrics/flows are organic and come straight from the heart and out the mouth and into the mic. Everything about Lil B is pro- and trans- gessive in the rap world, which is more often than not limited to a code of conduct, restrained to a set of topics, themes, and styles. B breaks down these walls, and while he has the classic 'rap ego,' he is also incredibly humble. He does use plenty of rap vernacular and slang phrases, but often these are used in a way which are both intended to be true and ironic, and this self-awareness is what makes B such a unique artist. He goes against the grain, and that is why he is at home here on Bigger Splashes.

But I'm Gay really shines because it is imbued with such empathy and passion (think Tupac's "Changes" and "Until the End of the World"). Stirring, touching, triggering, etc etc. There are six songs (essentially the latter half of the album), beginning with "Gon be Okay" which gave me chills for about 20 minutes during the time they played. I kept thinking that this bombardment of sensation would subside and the album would take a break by going a softer more subtle route, but the message and immediacy kept on in a manner nothing short of relentless. "I Hate Myself" was the pinnacle of this spiritual bombardment. Its an anthem for anyone who has ever been ostracized and it's one of the most real songs I've ever heard, rap or otherwise.

B is a young legend. He is a slayer of ignorance and close-mindedness and hatred, but most importantly B is a purveyor of love and change. Don't wait a single second - buy this album now.

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