Lil B – Angels Exodus

Lil B – Angels Exodus
Amalgam Digital: 2011

If you wander around Twitter or Myspace (it still exists, I swear!) long enough, you’re bound to run into Lil B from The Pack. The man with the cult following of freaks who pledge their allegiance to the #basedgod has over 155 Myspace pages with five songs each. According to statistics I’ve pulled out of my hat, he happens to outnumber the rest of Myspace’s active users. While investigating the character of the man known as the Based God, every single description included the word “swag.” Testimonials included “swag personified,” “dumb amounts of swag,” and “swag incarnate.” Those are terms that better describe swag trillionaires such as Samuel L. Jackson and Alonzo from Training Day. Unfortunately for Lil B and our collective eardrums, swag does not always translate into musical prowess. Rather, it creates an excuse for a rapper to say “Ellen Degeneres” 16 straight times and call it a hook and have people actually call it “music.” I blame us as a society, we weren’t harsh enough on Mike Jones for repeating himself all the damn time.

Throughout Angels Exodus, Lil B talks about his progression as an artist and how much he’s grown, an argument believable only because he’s got nowhere to go but up. The slow, gloomy piano on “Exhibit 6” sets a dark tone as Lil B goes on incoherently about his pain and how he’s improved, claiming the track to be his version of the Jay Electronica classic “Exhibit C”. Of course, the only difference being “Exhibit C” made people more excited for a Jay Electronica album, while “Exhibit 6” made people more excited to hit the “Skip” button. “Life’s Zombies” gets a boost from the production as Lil B gives a few nods to the gamers who grew up playing the Resident Evil series by mentioning the red, blue, and green herbs. The real joy on this album is the remix to “All My Life”, where we are treated to Lil B singing. Not rapping, SINGING. It’s as bad, if not worse, than you think. Think Macy Gray mixed with a shrieking cat. I’ve laughed at the things that Eminem and Redman have said throughout their careers, but I’ve never laughed at the artists themselves until now. To date, I have not made it through “All My Life” without breaking into hysterics at how bad it is. How have his boys not pulled him to the side during the studio session to let him know he couldn’t release music like this and still be taken seriously? The weirdo bit that he plays up on “All My Life” and “Vampires” is more annoying that innovating and reeks of Lil’ Wayne’s own weird appeal.

Lil B shouts out hip-hop darlings like Jay Electronica and MF DOOM, two rappers who aren’t commonly identified with Lil B, in an effort to reach out to fans of, as he calls it, “real hip-hop” to help bolster his claim that he’s dedicated to making the music that we, as discerning rap fans, will approve of. “Motivation” is that track that proves that Lil B can actually put a good song together, with one of my favorite beats of the year coming from Clams Casino. Sure, it’s mainly about how haters are his motivation (an undying rap cliché) but it’s still a good tune. Coupled with “The Growth”, Lil B makes a case that maybe, just maybe, he is more than just a product of swag-induced hype. It’s not a strong case, and it will likely get tossed out of court due to insufficient evidence, but they’re good enough to not get deleted with the rest of the album once I turn this review in.

And as far as Lil B’s swag goes, there’s a sizeable Lil’ Wayne influence, from name to overall style. And the Cook Dance that Lupe Fiasco and Deion Sanders love so much? That started as an old ska dance. You can have all the swag you want, but it doesn’t always manifest itself on wax, which dooms Angels Exodus. The album reaches comically bad levels on numerous occasions, almost to the point where you think you’re listening to a parody album instead of earnest lyrics written by a terrible rapper. The hip “so bad it’s good” way of thinking that has embraced Lil B has bred laziness as well as acceptance of subpar music. Pray to the Based God that you don’t have to listen to this album against your will.

½☆☆☆☆
0.5 out of 5

23 thoughts on “Lil B – Angels Exodus

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  1. Judging by the review it sounds like you didn’t have a clear heart or you didn’t even listen to the album

  2. captain 66|

    u know u dun fuked up right….

  3. Open-Mind|

    Lil B’s got you fooled too, Mr. Castano. Watch when I’m Gay drops, then call him a “terrible rapper”

  4. worst thing I’ve heard this year. Vans was cool for what it was, but this lil bitch needs to quit…

  5. Based God probably fucked this guy’s mother -_- SMH
    This is atleast a solid 4 album #SWAG!

  6. dude, i just read this, and i LMFAO’ed all the way through. well written; thanks for confirming what i thought and heard to be true about this.

  7. lol i meant to say the song featured the shoutouts, so people would be inclined to listen to it and revoke their statements that he can’t spit.

    he fucked my bitch twice :{

  8. Fact is, Based God probably fucked yo bitch.

  9. He may be interesting, but he is awful. Lil B is an internet phenomenon but a year from now this wave will pass. Perhaps he wont fade completely, due to the nature of the internets, but I think enough people outside of the internet have listened to his music and formed an opinion.

    As Fred said, he is doing him, but that is not a defence for being a wack emcee. On what criteria? All of the obvious ones which have existed for decades now. Lil B is intriguing, and in the future might even be seen as a net pioneer, but he is not a good artist.

  10. I’ll give him credit for his smarts. He picked some good production to make his album listenable, used the based swag to insulate himself from the haters, and threw in a couple songs to prove he can rap to give his apologists something to defend. I applaud him for doing “him” and I understand that part of the appeal, the “I don’t care what anybody thinks, I’m doing me” attitude that is a prerequisite for appearing on MTV reality shows. He’s doing him, that’s great. It’s just not that good. It’s his own damn fault, too. Don’t come at me with an album talking about how better you are as an artist and then fail to impress me. Oh you’ve grown? Put your bars up:

    “Who this boss is?
    I’m shootin’ shotgun’
    Reload
    Can’t see through the darkness
    Scarecrows
    Walk down the stairs
    Niggas is hatin’
    Experience
    Audience
    Perhaps you’ll help
    If you ain’t
    Nothing else
    Every situation you look
    Fear in it’s eyes
    Life’s puzzles”

    C’mon son. I don’t need an album to lyrically impress me either. I thought the Bomb Zombies EP was way better and there wasn’t anything thought-provoking on there. It was about ass-shaking and shot-taking. That EP didn’t take itself seriously, I didn’t hear Nocando saying he’s improved. Had Lil B not gone on about maturing as an artist, I probably would have viewed this album through a different lens. But he made his bed with those claims he made. You want to be seen as “real” (his words, not mine. Word to Kara-Lis, what is real?), then make something that makes me say “that’s real shit!” instead of “that’s real shitty!”

  11. D.L. Chandler|

    Peace,

    I happen to enjoy this cat’s work more than someone my age should. Now, I’ll agree he has a ton of technical flaws from a rap standpoint. But he does indeed have some ability and the fact he largely freestyles his work impresses and annoys me all at once.

    Is it frustrating to sit through some of the Based Freestyles? Sure. Some of them I enjoy from a sonic view but to say the kid can’t turn on the bars when he wants to is just a dismissive way to look at the kid. I dig it though…on the surface, it just seems like a joke. The kid is smarter than we can ever imagine.

  12. Kara-Lis Coverdale|

    @Fred I know what you mean about how Lil B uses Based as a scapegoat for technical incapability. And it can be infuriating as hell for those who have spent years in their basements trying to perfect J-Dilla beats or rhyme just like Jay Elec. If we can forget about existing understandings about what good/bad in hip-hop is for a second though, the interesting thing about Based and Lil B is that he makes us re-think what actually IS good and what all these “rules” and “standards” are and where they come from. He’s almost laughing in the face of how riled people get up over these imagined structures. Like Patel said, he’s deconstructing not only hip-hop but pop-music at large.

    And I think many artists are equally interested in this project not only as an intellectual exercise but just because it makes for some weird and super different music. When I heard Lil B’s ambient track with Cormega — I think it was actually called something along the lines of “real hip-hop”–I was really, really, shocked. Especially to hear Mega, someone who refers to himself as “the realness,” give huge ups this theatrical dude and vice versa, to have Lil B who seems WORLDS away from what Mega is all about, even want to touch him. What is the realness again? Oh yeah. It doesn’t exist.

    Im not sure B’s shout outs are necessarily claims of influence or artistic lineage. I honestly think the guy just loves everyone, thinks the world is his sand box, and unlike most people is incapable of recognizing that boundary that stops most from showing it or engaging it.

  13. I think I need to get out more because I just completely do not understand how or why this fool gets any attention whatsoever. He just sounds like somebody who just started rapping and isn’t very good. Seriously, beyond the flood of social media accounts he keeps, why does anyone care? That is not a rhetorical question.

  14. @Patel

    “Lil B shouts out hip-hop darlings like Jay Electronica and MF DOOM”

    “Coupled with ‘The Growth’, Lil B makes a case that maybe, just maybe, he is more than just a product of swag-induced hype”

    *plays What More Can I Say*

  15. Lil B has been called a “brilliantly warped, post-Lil Wayne deconstructionist”. This is true. Although I don’t enjoy his music for any sonical value, I do appreciate the man’s movement and message.

    Plus, The Growth was a pretty decent song. He gave a shoutout to DOOM and Jay Elec on that track right? Should’ve probably put that in the review, so that readers would be opted to check the track out.

  16. lol that first post got posted on accident, stupid super-sensitive touchpad

  17. Julien Loeper|

    this is at least a 4.5. te best thing hes ever done

  18. See Kara-Lis, that’s what I thought, too. I thought he was just gonna go out there and do this fun, silly album and not regard himself as a “real” rapper. BUT HE DOES!!!! He mentions numerous times throughout the album that’s he about that “real” hip-hop, that he’s grown and matured and all that. Shouting out MF Doom on a track does not a real MC make. I can end my pieces with “Props to Henry David Thoreau,” but unless I actually show his influence in my work, it’s just empty words.

    He’s using the Based thing as insulation from outside criticism, falling back on “Well I’m doing me so to hell with what everyone else thinks!” His singing All My Life is a prime example, he knows he can’t sing but he’s doing it as an expression of “Yeah I can’t sing, but so what, it’s me! Based God! Forget what ya’ll think!” I commend him for singing his heart out and not going to AutoTune, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s ass.

  19. In case anyone thinks dude was kidding about bad “All My Life” is, check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuoUWlNU4OM

    I think you were kind of generous with this review, daug.

  20. I personally enjoy this dude’s music and what he does. Swag.

  21. Kara-Lis Coverdale|

    Nice, Fred!

    The thing about Lil B is I’m not sure he tries to be a “real” rapper/emcee/artist. Isn’t that part of why he invented Based– to be in a class of his own that doesn’t permit external comparisons?

    In his own world he’s the very best of being bad and hilarious and swag and all three at once because there’s no-one else doing ridiculous so well other than maybe Soulja boy, and we all know he’s got nothin’ on the based god. In that sense he’s literally competing with himself.

  22. Haha, I actually enjoyed some of this, though maybe that’s all it was…enjoyable idiocy.

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