Is Lil B a Minstrel Character or Misunderstood?

Is Lil B a Minstrel Character or Misunderstood?

What’s the real deal with the Based God?

Published May 6, 2011

Bay Area rapper Lil B’s presence may be even more problematic than it appears. 

 

B is such a contradictory character that it’s hard to tell what’s what with him. On the one hand, the 21-year-old MC preaches positivity and compassion, but on the other, his vast body of work is composed of irreverent songs that promote misogyny among other unsavory things, and it seems that his “fans” are more in search of comic relief than anything else. 

 

Rapper Freddie Gibbs may have hit the nail on the head with this observation last week in an interview with BET.com:

 

“I thought the Lil B s--t was funny at first,” said Gibbs. “It was a joke. But you go to festivals like Coachella and all of that, and I see all these white people laughing at a n---a, it just looks like a minstrel show. Like he just putting on a dumb-ass show for these white people, and they laughing at us.... It’s already hard enough for a black man in America, and to have a mothaf---a that’s on there like that, that has the platform that you have to throw that type of message out there, I just think it’s idiotic to me, personally.”

 

If Lil B isn’t the attention-whoring character that some make him out to be, then it would appear that his lofty ideals are just poorly articulated, which can be written off as a product of him coming into his own as an adult, yet still not fully being able to put away all the ways of his youth. Hence his formula for releasing music: an attempt at making a socially conscious message, almost always followed by a song a la “Girls on my d--k cuz I look like Jesus.” Fair enough. But it would be nice if B did his growing up out of the limelight. 

 

How many people are laughing at Lil B? How many people are laughing with him? And how many people aren’t laughing at all? Are Lil B’s ill-expressed attempts at social consciousness more harmful than we already know? 

(Photo: Frank Micelotta/PictureGroup)

Written by Brooklyne Gipson

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