“Remix myself then I’m selling it whole”
Rap artists do tell on themselves. That bar might have been a random throwaway line for Lil B on his “Santa” mixtape, but it was eerily close to the truth. Nobody remixes himself more than the Based God. He takes the things that he’s done before, he puts a slightly new twist on it, and then he puts it out all over again. “Santa” has all the hallmarks of a classic Lil B album for better and for worse. It’s excessively long for a start — 90 tracks that clock in at an astonishing five hours and forty-one minutes total. I defy you to sit through this entire presentation from beginning to end. There’s no way you can do it.
If you look at the view counts somewhere like Soundcloud or YouTube it’s not hard to tell that nobody makes it to the end. When I wrote this piece the opening track “Sumthin” had 10,000 views while track 77 “She Goin to Chicago” only had 870 views. If you charted a Lil B album it might look a bit like a roller coaster at the start, but by the end it would only be one long downhill trip with no upward bump. It’s not just that the listeners are fatigued long before the end of a Lil B project, it’s that Lil B himself is clearly fatigued too. “She Goin to Chicago” might be one of the most unlistenable songs he’s ever recorded, and given his prodigious output that’s really saying something. The track is like a power drill and an 808 being held to your ear, he repeats each bar multiple times, and he says regrettable things like “whip my bitch like a fucking slave” with no remorse. It’s SO BAD.
The only possibility for a song like this is that he’s trolling the audience. He calls himself a Republican, he promises to cash out and not give a fuck, he’s purposefully being as unlikable as possible. The problem with this theory is that on a nearly six hour album the joke of being trolled and knowing it would wear thin REALLY QUICK. He’s not doing it for that reason — he’s doing it just because when he runs out of good beats and good ideas, he’ll take anything he says or does and throw it on there to pad out the length. “Fuck ’em if they left, and fuck ’em if they hated on me/I don’t give a fuck if they love me homey/Fuck ’em… but I love ’em.” That’s B telling on himself again on “No Love Lost” and in a sense he’s right. He’s too cool for his critics (particularly me) and shouldn’t give a fuck who left before the end, yet he can’t help but love the haters too because they keep his name out there.
If you’re looking for a recent Lil B release that’s a little less tiresome, I’d recommend “Red Flame After the Fire.” They’re each bloated and wildly uneven releases, but by the Based God’s standards, it’s a much more thought out and coherent session. “Santa” is one of those albums Brandon made just to keep up his reputation for making multiple projects every year, the “quantity over quality” formula that will undoubtedly make him a legend when the record books come calling. It’s vexing that if he wanted to do a good album he could throw away 90% of what he records and just put out the other 10%, but he’s just too based for that.