“I’m not a rap artist
This is spoken word — you niggaz have nerve”

There’s a lot to unpack with Lil B’s “Angels Exodus.” The old saying is that you should never judge a book by its cover, and I’m even willing to extend that to album covers, but portraying yourself as a martyr on the cross with money in your pockets is purposefully provocative. Even if you’re not a practicing Christian there’s simple way to explain what’s wrong here with one question — would you put Lil B on a Jesus piece? Even though I’m not active in the faith I still remember the words of Matthew chapter 19 verse 24: “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” I’m not mad about Brandon McCartney trying to push buttons with the illustration here. One of the most important goals of artists is to elicit emotions from the observer, positive or negative, and this cover is part of his art too.

“Statistics say, I ain’t gon’ live to see past 30
Things on my mind, a few seen the coffin early
Internet like trash, human race is dirty
Ask me if I give a fuck about a life sentence”

One thing that’s absolutely a positive about “Angels Exodus” is the length. At 12 songs clocking in just under 40 minutes it’s an unusually short album for the BasedGod. It’s not hard to notice that he put more thought into what he’s saying here as a result, because he’s not padding out the run time for whatever Spotify or streaming benefits come back to him. In fact “Motivation” is one of the most aptly named songs of his entire career. “While I’m on Earth, I’ma spread the knowledge.” Even though he was incorrect about his demise on this album (we can all thank BasedGod for being off about that) he definitely put forth the effort on this release. It has the feeling of an album that he intended to be his legacy after he was gone. Clams Casino produced the song but B wrote the bars then directed and filmed the video. He let the haters motivate him to come harder.

“Fin’ to stop smoking weed cause I gotta focus
Clear head to see things that you wouldn’t notice”

I’m not sure Brandon will ever have a perfect album, but “Angels Exodus” comes awfully close. Hearing him link up with 9th Wonder for “Connect the Dots” is a blessing. When he vows to “leave y’all with some gems […] from my heart” in the intro, you can hear how the instrumental inspired his lyrics. I don’t know Lou Pocus that well but he dropped an instrumental gem of his own for “The Growth,” sounding like Kanyeezy Wonder-chemist in this bitch. It’s a little depressing to hear him shout out Daniel Dumile when listing his favorite “real hip-hop” artists, but it can’t take away the good vibes on the whole. He’s also spitting some of the best punchlines of his career on cuts like “Frankie Silver” — I had to smile when he said “Leave a tip so big that the FBI bought me cable.”

It honestly bothers me that what Lil B has become best known for is his prolific number of albums and the fact many of them are bloated with awful mass produced plasticware songs. “Angels Exodus” proves it doesn’t have to be that way and it never did. Brandon is a rap legend who deserves his flowers now, and I don’t mean the ones being stained with his blood on the cover. The thing that keeps him from getting more of them is that he decided to emphasize quantity over quality. That’s his hustle though and even though Shawn Carter told us not to knock a rapper for it I will just this once. I like you Brandon, always have and always will, but I’d like you even more if you made more albums like this.

Lil B :: Angels Exodus
8Overall Score