Lil B specifically requested no opening acts, and the beginning of the show built an anticipatory tension as the Wak Lyf DJs spun bass-heavy hits in an attempt to rile the crowd. The front of the stage was packed tight, but few people were really moving at this point; the occasional Waka Flocka track inspired some reception, but in general, everyone was waiting for the Based God. DJ Neuport would scream "Based!" and the like to try to amp people, and it worked at brief intervals, but his biggest response was from playing Lil Wayne's collaboration with Lil B "Grove St Party". Everyone seemed to be storing energy for when Lil B himself arrived onstage.
When the lights went low and the beat for "Task Force" began to play, that energy started to release, and basically remained constant through the length of the show. All ages shows are actually rare these days, and the youthful exuberance was something unique to most shows I've been to in a while. Lil B soaked up the audiences awe, speaking directly to them after every track about his based philosophy and giving the love right back. He asked, "Do we got any positive people in the building tonight?" and got an enthusiastic reply, and spreading an air of positivity remained a main theme of the night.
"People ask me what 'based' means... It means stayin' positive. Being yourself. Spread love. Everybody in here is connected, everybody in here could be your friend," he said to the crowd, right after playing "Ima Eat Her Ass," and followed by saying "I love you" a dozen times. It's an odd juxtaposition to see someone onstage demanding you respect women after rapping "Bitch shake that ass on my dick," and it created a separation of sorts between the songs and the personality; Lil B is a rapper who creates music, but a large portion of his art is simply him as a human being.
Widely criticized for being unabashedly terrible at rapping, Lil B is also praised for shaking up rap's conventions and turning rap tropes on their head. He rapped without backing tracks, save for the back-up ad-libs intentionally left in, and hit every line even though the lines were off-track to begin with. It's true that most of his songs are off-beat and often don't rhyme, but there are multiple lines that catch your ear simply because no one's ever really said it on a track before.
The positivity angle might be hard to swallow with the words "bitch" and "hoe" being thrown around like they're nothing, but his persona between tracks is glowingly righteous and generally fun, which hip-hop sorely needs right now. It's a really strange feeling that I didn't fully appreciate until I began cooking, which is Lil B's trademark dance, and became one with the crowd. Anytime I pulled away to write something down or overthink the show, I lost perspective. A lot of people caught the vibe and were dancing insane, ripping their shirts off, hugging the people next to them, and even throwing money onstage. "Stop throwing money at me!" Lil B shouted after the fourth instance of bills flying towards him. "I should be throwing ya'll money! Ya'll the most important!"
During his biggest hit "Wonton Soup", Lil B invited the audience on stage to dance with him, and found himself swept up in a crowd of people. This is where the aura of positivity took a severe turn: In the middle of the song, Lil B yelled to stop the music, cut the song short, and began to rant about someone having stole his glasses. "Why ya'll on my dick that ya'll would steal my glasses?" he screamed, and proceeded to storm offstage. This was at about 9 o'clock, with lots of time left in his set, but security began to remove people from the stage and people began to trickle outside. This was seemingly the end, an odd and abrupt finish to an otherwise buoyant night, but by 9:30, Lil B returned to the stage and jumped into "Spontaneous Combustion." "Sometimes I'm too Hollywood, ya'll are worth more than these glasses," he said, wearing the pair that had been returned to him. "Fuck that Hollywood shit, I love ya'll!"
He finished out his set by signing shoes, shirts, and pink bandanas, taking pictures with the crowd, and hugging people. His management convinced an ornery based god to return to the stage for the fans, and Lil B was saddened he had to turn negative in front of his fans. He gave back in the end, playing his own beats behind him and occasionally rapping lines, but mostly just signing people's stuff. It was a very weird way to end the show, but I don't know why I expected any different.
Critic's Bias: I was one of the few people in between the ages of the young kids and the parents who brought them.
The Crowd: Generally young, generally based, pretty diverse. Some people had chef's hats on.
Random Notebook Dump: Lil B shouting "Make some noise for your parents!" carried some extra weight with some parents actually in the crowd. I always want to know what they make of this sort of thing.
Overheard in the Crowd: People arguing over how long they've been based god followers, a girl convincing her boyfriend that splaying on the floor and rubbing asses against another guy's ass was not a threat to him.
I Own Swag
Suck My Dick Hoe
Tiny Pants Bitch
Swag Jerry Rice
Connected In Jail
Bitch Mob Anthem
Ima Eat Her Ass
Woo Woo Swag
Like A Martian