Another day, another Lil B mixtape. Well, that’s what it feels like, at least. The Bay Area rapper who has made his name in the last year or two by releasing unconscionable amounts of free music continues with his attack, dropping his Silent President mixtape less than a month after his Black Flame tape (which came less than a month after his I Forgie You tape).
As has been the case of late, Lil B’s approach here far exceeds his execution. His angles of positivity and love are rare within rap, and seem minimally contrived when put forth by the Based God, which is an applaudable thing. But for as great of an idea as is something like “Beat The Cancer,” an uplifting song he says he made when a fan suffering from the disease hit him up on YouTube, the outcome is often sloppy. Similarly, the 2011 XXL Freshman digs deep but doesn’t always reach the depths he’s looking for. “Think about it/What’s life to an ant?/What’s life to a cat?/We all alive,” he spits on “Black And White.”
On “The Original,” he chants “I’m the original” in his signature “I’m Miley Cyrus” cadence. Sometimes, though, it feels like B has left the actual innovation in the past, in favor of simply talking about how innovative he is. “Look at how the rap game is right now,” he implores during a spoken conclusion on “Same Place.” “It’s all because of Lil B. Regardless of anything, I’m the reason why y’all niggas eating.”
Sure, it’s hard to argue that Lil B wasn’t a forefather of the swag-ing and whoop-ing revolution still in play across some pockets of hip-hop, and his style has created opportunity for those with an otherwise peculiar method. But it would be welcomed to have Lil B aim for more precision moving forward, as this release feels low on energy and is rife with unmastered vocals.
Even with outputs like Silent President that don’t allow his unique flavor to properly marinate on the listener’s palate, Lil B remains honest to himself and his fans, and deserves a vote of confidence for that. —Adam Fleischer