Lil B, “I Felt Like [Joe Budden] Was Making a Mockery of Me.”
As far as up-and-coming rappers go, Brandon “Lil B” McCartney is one of hip-hop’s most enigmatic figures. At first glance he’s just another obnoxious rap kid preoccupied with making up dances on his YouTube page (see "The Cooking Dance"), hitting the studio to lay down irreverent, braggadocios and misogyny-laiden verses over bass-heavy party tracks, or engaging in one-sided rap beefs with the likes of Joe Budden. But if you ask anyone who knows Lil B personally (like Glasses Malone or Tony Yayo, for instance) you'll get a starkly different description of the 21-year-old rapper, writer and, as he calls himself, “composer.”
Indeed, there's more than meets the eye when it comes to Lil B, especially when you take into consideration that he’s performing at sold out shows in New York and was recently named in the list of Top 10 most viewed artists on YouTube. Life seems pretty good for the kid, who makes up one quarter of Bay Area rap group The Pack. XXLMag.com caught up Lil B to find out where his head and heart is at when he’s contradicting himself on wax, starting Twitter beef with Joe Budden, and making music.
XXLMag.com: What’s the deal with you and Joe Budden?
Lil B: I’ma supporter of Joe Budden. I listen to his music, I think he’s a very talented and truthful artist and this… That insult, you know, he… It was crazy ’cause I felt like he was making a mockery of me over Twitter, so [I tweeted], “Joe follow me. I’m a supporter of you. Check me out. Let’s do some work.” He didn’t follow me. I’m like, “Okay, Joe, I’m getting very emotional right now. I feel like you’re making fun of me. Follow me.” He didn’t follow me, I said, “Fine, Joe, I’m a better lyricist than you. You cannot see me lyrically.” Then he started tweeting, like, “Ooh, really,” he’s like, “I wouldn’t wanna be dissed by somebody that looked like Jesus,” and really making fun of me. And you know, I’m thinking in my head Joe Budden is really a worthy opponent ’cause a lot of people aren’t worthy of me to address them. He’s worthy of me to address and so, I destroyed him and you know, it’s done now.
And that was it?
I apologized to him later, I told him my feelings were hurt that you didn’t follow me and you know you were mocking me over Twitter. You were being mean, you know what I mean? I don’t want you to lose money, or hurt your brand in anyway. I let it rest at that, and then he hit me up today like, “I want you on Mood Muzik 4” and it’s like, he won’t follow me, it’s like he’s making like a mockery of me. You know? I don’t know. Maybe he has dry humor over the Internet. I don’t know. You know, but it’s just the Internet.
Do you feel it was a mistake having that exchange online?
I’m ready for any rapper to lyrically try to mess with me and what not ’cause it’s not going down and I will destroy them. It’s just crazy, he’s just one of those guys that really just not paying attention as much as you think he is. If [Budden] really was paying attention he would respect what I’m doing, you know what I mean? I really pay attention. I’m seeing the artist that I respect, but it’s some people everybody not gon’ like, so I have to accept that, too. But it’s kinda like, I’m making it to where I’m undeniable, ’cause I really got something for everybody. But it’s like when you gon’ take the time out to sit and take a listen?
Do you feel like controversy like that overshadows your music?
That’s a chapter of my life, that’s a part of what’s happening in my life, that’s a part of history. You know, we move on and I don’t feel like that’s gonna overshadow, you know? It’s lessons learned and as a warrior you continue to move and don’t let your past get altered. You know, so I consider myself a warrior and this is a battlefield.
So you’re working on a solo album, Rain in England, right now. How’s that coming along?
That’s gonna be one of the best hip-hop albums to ever come out and one of the most unique albums to ever come out in hip-hop. I’m extremely proud of that, that’s why I’m ranting and raving and being crazy because I got some amazing music that’s historical and that’s gonna change what people think.
I’ma keep some stuff secret, but really, it’s bringing sound and emotion to hip-hop that’s never been done before. Really, this album is, I feel the closest thing to an emotion that hip-hop can get, and you know, it’s really like a movie. I know you hear a lot of rappers saying they’re gonna make a movie, or this is a movie right here, but what I have is the definition of, you know, really that.
But what makes this album stand apart?
Everything, just everything about it is very personal. I had no structure with writing it. Created my own structure and everything, like, chorus, bridge and everything. Like, I totally tarnished what regular hip-hop would be, or what somebody would do with a song. Made my own.
Sounds kind of dark…
It has some dark sides, but then it has some amazing sides to it, like I’ll tell you one song that I made called, “Birth To Life” and what it’s doing is showing appreciation to the woman, to the man, and the woman for coming together and creating the child and you know, it just comes, just to breathe.
That’s a new depiction of women for you, you don’t usually depict women in a positive or even humane light for the most part...
You know, I have so many different personalities and sides to me that I feel like it’s endless. You know, I’m always evolving and finding new music and appreciating new things and being one with the earth, so it’s like how I could relate to my own self was honestly embracing music and I became less ignorant… That’s why my music is where it’s at right now because I have no boundaries right now. I feel one with the other so.
What else can we expect from the project?
It’s very much like a melting pot to the soul, just thinking and melting into your emotions. Then I have songs on there that are dark, like, “The Hell Raiser.” And, you know, what that is about is kind of, me showing, I kind of feel like I’m the hit man with the rappers and kind of studying the rappers and watching them from my basement as if you kind of remember “Phantom of the Opera” or something and you seen me down there, I’m composing this music while watching BET and watching these artists and MTV and watching these artists and the videos are on rotation and I’m saying that needs to be me and I’m Phantom of the Opera, you know? So, it’s some amazing sides to it and I think this is going to touch everyone, the greats of hip-hop, you know? Everybody’s gonna really have to pay attention to this and take what they need from it.
Okay, is that how you kind of feel like, is that where you see yourself in hip-hop right now, kinda like on the sidelines taking notes?
I definitely see myself on the sidelines taking notes from the greats and going back in the past, and you know ’cause I feel a lot of people, doing the same stuff. I see a lot of rappers copying Drake’s flow, I see a lot of rappers just pretty much doing the same thing and you know it’s me, I’ve always, my whole life, I’ve always wanted to do what no one else was doing and if I see, you know, If I’m hearing somebody is coming from where I’m from I try to make sure I’m very different from them because I want nothing to be like them. You know what I mean? And I see myself taking notes, I also see myself giving a lot of tips and coaching too and you know, really giving a lot of free game on my side too. So, it’s kind of like a transition, taking notes, but I’m also giving away a lot. It’s just a good thing, you know?
So what brought about these changes?
I’d say growing up... I got in my trouble, and nearly I almost lost everything and it balanced me and really like challenged me to continue to work hard and keep recording when people would be like, “You’re stupid. Stop!” I don’t know what you’re talking about because I knew in my heart what I’m doing and I knew in my heart what I’m doing is right because I have a message and I’m saying something. —Brooklyne Gipson