The hot smell of human bodies smashing against one another rose up from the hoard of pink bandana-clad revelers moshing in front of Lil B on Saturday night.
“You’re all legends!” Lil B told them.
His DJ/producer, Keyboard Kid, shot off air horn and siren sounds as Lil B repeated the line, “We’re legends; we’re legends.”
He used that word often during his show at Canton Hall. Maybe being in the presence of one of the main artists that paved the way for the weirdo hip-hop, stream-of-conscious swag-rap movement made the crowd feel as though they actually were taking part in something legendary. He seems to be in touch with the fact that to the people in attendance, there is no doubt he is a living legend.
The crowd was typical for a Lil B show, meaning that it was atypical. There were kids decked out in the latest hype gear and streetwear, 20-somethings in gingham button-downs, hip-hop weirdos who knew every lyric and yes, high school kids wearing Patagonia. A motley crew united by the power of the pink bandana.
Lil B wore flat front, blue shorts and a wife beater. Seemingly gone are the days of his tiny pink shirts and tight jeans barely hanging on 6 inches above his knees. He wasn’t even wearing his “legendary Vans,” which he has proclaimed are worth tens of thousands of dollars. Instead he wore black high-top Nikes. Oh, and he has dreadlocks now.
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He performed the whole show in front of a projected image of the cover art from his latest mixtape, Platinum Flame, in which a dreadlocked Lil B, eyes half-shut, holds out a handful of Photoshopped diamonds. He rapped along to probably about one-fourth of his lyrics, jumping around while letting the backing track do most of the work. And in his more vulgar selections, he let it do almost all the work. After mostly just dancing along to his, ehemm, aggressive, hits such as “Ho Suck My Dick” and “Child Support Me,” he gave the crowd a disclaimer.
“This is the no judgment zone," Lil B said. "We may say some words that we don’t normally say on the outside, but we all good and we family, so have fun tonight. We respect everybody. So just know, just because we say a few curse words or whatever, we still gonna respect each other and have fun together.”
This was followed by more air horns. And cheers.
Maybe Lil B is going a little soft on us, or perhaps he’s just getting closer to fully becoming “the Based God.” Although his fans don’t hesitate to refer to him by that name, he has made it clear that he is not the “the Based God.” He only knows Him and aspires to be Him. “The Based God is perfect,” he has said.
At one point, the familiar intro to O.T. Genasis’s “CoCo” started to ratchet up the crowd, making them hungry for the beat to drop. Once it did, they jumped right in with Lil B, yelling the changed lyrics, “I’m in love with the Based God!”
Some of them certainly meant it, but it was hard to tell just how many; how many were actually fans of his music and how many were just jumping on a hype wave, looking for a good excuse to party and mosh — which Lil B certainly provided.
But it only took a little bit of observation to notice how many people were singing along to every word, especially those in the middle of the pit. They were the soldiers in Lil B’s army, true members of what he calls the “Bitch Mob Task Force.” They were the people who comment on YouTube videos, “Protect Lil B at all costs.” One of them told us he has an iPod with only Lil B music on it — almost 17 gigabytes.
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Then there were the people standing more toward the back — the high school kids grinding on each other, the older crowd, the Lil B skeptics and the way-too-high.
One guy standing off to the side kept laughing, looking down and shaking his head before proceeding to bob and sing along, word-for-word. It’s like he couldn’t help it. He was in love with the Based God.
Lil B finished the set on a tender note with his song, “I love You,” which he prolonged by slowly moving across the stage, reaching out to touch the hands of his fans while singing a capella into the microphone “doot doo doo doo – doot doo doo doo – doot doo doo doo – and I love you.” He wanted to touch as many hands as he could, passing “legend” status to each of them.
Lil B doesn’t tour often, but he made the decision to come to Houston, San Antonio, Dallas and Austin during his current run of 10 shows that ends in September. And for that, Texas members of the “Bitch Mob Task Force” have only one thing to say: Thank You Based God.