Enough ink has been digitally recreated and spilled on Lil B to fill up at least a couple super-secret-google servers, but most of the critical response to his work is spent trying to disentangle what “based” means, and precious little time is spent examining his music outside of its ridiculous context. Fandom and context are important to the ingestion of pop-culture (as 1%j contributor bartelby pointed out quite brilliantly yesterday) but Lil B’s greater context is so prolific and confusing that it tends to outweigh his actual ‘art-product’ which is a shame because that product is pretty amazing.
“I Love You” is about stating the obvious and proving that it is beautiful. The lyrics don’t really make sense as a rap song, and the song’s main thesis is presented and done with in about 30 seconds. Lil B loves you. Lil B loves his mom. Lil B wants you “to have a good night / – and a good day.” L il B acknowledges your pain and wants you to know that it’s “okay to cry.” Lil B has heard Andre 3000, and is going to “keep [his] heart, keep spreading love and play [his] part.” There’s a temptation to listen to all of this and present it as ironic and laughable and, in all honesty, I’m about 100% sure that Lil B is just fine with that, but if that’s your temptation I think you should reconsider.
Watch the music video below. The last 2 minutes or so are spent with Lil B looking straight into the camera, crying, genuinely overcome with emotion. That is the exact emotional response we want from the words “I love you,” right? We want to be overcome by love. We want it to swallow us whole because the emotion is so powerful that it makes everything around us disappear. It’s easy to be cynical about Lil B’s love because accepting something is almost as difficult as giving it, and genuine love is scary, but don’t worry, it’s okay to cry.