Watch 'Lil B: Believe in Earth,' a Rare and Based Journey with One of Rap's Most Influential Artists
In this very rare motivational experience, Noisey set out to learn the meaning of based and learn a bit more about ourselves in the process.
The second season of NOISEY premieres on Tuesday, January 10 at 10 PM EST on VICELAND. The first episode focuses on the Bay Area rap scene—starring E-40, Nef the Pharaoh, G-Eazy, and more—and examines how the music community is dealing with the rapid gentrification brought on by the tech industry. Learn how you can watch VICELAND here.
In 2009, the Berkeley, California, rapper Lil B, of teen group The Pack, released a song called "I'm God," the latest in a series of stream-of-consciousness raps he had taken to calling based freestyles. It was the world's formal introduction to the Based God, the source of pure inspiration and positivity responsible for this music.
In the years since, people have sought to understand Lil B "The Based God," to draw a distinction between the two entities, to make sense of "based" philosophy and of what this rapper was trying to say. For some, the whole thing seemed as though it must be an elaborate joke: Here was an artist who had abandoned the proven successes of his career for a more abstract, confounding style. But for many others, it was a beacon of what rap might look like unburdened by the strict conventions of a commercial industry, freed by the democratizing power of the internet to express a full range of human ideas.
As those principles have played out, Lil B has quickly become one of modern rap's most influential figures. He's a musical trailblazer whose use of chant-like hooks and ambient production has seeped into the sound of mainstream rap, directly influencing prominent young artists like A$AP Rocky, Vince Staples, and Lil Yachty while indirectly impacting the sounds of countless others. His knack for promoting extra-musical phenomena—memes, the word "swag," his famous cooking dance, and The Based God's Curse of Kevin Durant—has had repercussions throughout pop culture. And above all, his philosophy of open-mindedness, positivity, and engaged curiosity has inspired a generation of kids online and artists who have followed in his wake. Lil B offers the constant reminder that love and curiosity are more powerful than the close-mindedness, fear, and hatred bred by many corners of digital culture and society as a whole.
Filmed in conjunction with VICELAND's Noisey Bay Area episode, Lil B: Believe in Earth is a very rare motivational experience, a documentary about the elusive rapper and a quest to understand the true meaning of "based." Featuring artists E-40, G-Eazy, Vince Staples, Clams Casino, Lil Yachty, Kreayshawn, Joey Purp, and Lil B himself, It takes place in Lil B's hometown of Berkeley—but also on the planet Earth and deep within each one of us as humans. Watch it above, and tune into the Season 2 premiere of Noisey on VICELAND tonight at 10 PM EST.
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