For those who aren’t already devout followers of The Based God, dipping your toes into the world of Lil B’s music can be a challenging undertaking. What’s the right entry point? Are you supposed to download every new tape? Are you supposed to listen to all 30 songs on the mixtape? With such an overwhelming amount of releases, it’s easy for the good stuff to go unnoticed and slip between the cracks. His latest effort, last month’s P.Y.T., happens to be quite possibly his best since 2011’s Illusions of Grandeur, though it’s impact felt like just about every other Lil B mixtape release.
In terms of subject matter, P.Y.T. is loaded with variety, to the extent that it’s almost baffling. There’s love songs like “Marry Me”, where a half-crooning, half-talking Lil B endearingly singing “Now baby come hold my hand/ I wanna be your man, I wanna see you every night/ I’ve been waiting all my life…I love you to the moon and the stars/Don’t change who you are.” Then there’s records like “Alota Bitches”, a bouncy player’s anthem with a chorus assuring listeners B would never, in his wildest dreams, “cuff” or “love the bitch”. Even some of the harder to digest songs like “Keith Sweat” hold entertainment value in head-scratching thoughts like “Girls in Florida, number one supporters/Bitch kiss my ass cause I look like a lawyer.” Regardless of the disparate sounds and contradicting messages, Lil B’s able to execute his songs in ways that are sincere and relatable.
His sonic elasticity is demonstrated throughout, cruising through the clean and soulful “Emotional Player” directly into the disjointed and brash “510 Ratchet”, an ode to girls who behave as if they’re perpetually starring in Spring Breakers. A quick basketball analogy would be to say that Lil B is similar to J.R. Smith of the New York Knicks – and that’s not even taking into consideration a mutual love for throat and neck tattoos. Like Smith, Lil B can be enigmatically hard to pin down, and at times might seem more like an unfiltered mess than a serious talent. But like Smith, Lil B thrives when he’s able to channel his many emotions into spurts of concentrated, gripping and convincing performances. For J.R. Smith that’s a stellar stretch in a basketball game, or perhaps a game winning shot. For Lil B, it’s a release like P.Y.T., which oozes with records that seem to tactfully convey every possible thought, dream and emotion Lil B could have felt while recording this.
Together, P.Y.T.’s collection of themes, feelings, beats and rhymes don’t just make up another Lil B mixtape, but one of his finest. It’s worthy of a download, but more importantly, it’s deserving of a resounding #ThankYouBasedGod from us all. —@WavyDaveWilliam