Growing up in Berkeley, California, Lil B was bound to stumble on the booming hyphy movement dominating the Bay Area Hip Hop scene in the late ’90s/early 2000s. Sure enough, when he was 16 years old, Lil B (real name Brandon McCartney) started rapping with The Pack, a Hip Hop collective based in San Fransisco.
In 2006, the group scored a major hit with “Vans” and from there, Lil B was off and running.
Since then, the colorful Lil B has adopted an alter-ego, whom he refers to as The BasedGod. When he was a kid, the term “based” carried a negative connotation. It was used in the way Public Enemy used it on 1988’s “Night Of The Living Baseheads.” It basically described a person who was high and drugged-out, but Lil B took that word, flipped it and made it his own.
“People used to talk down on me when I was little,” he admits to HipHopDX. “I wanted to change that and take pride in being ‘based.’ It means to be positive. When I was doing my music and freestyles, I was just getting deeper and deeper into it and that’s how The BasedGod came about.
“All the positivity I had was a part of me, so now I bring it everywhere I go no matter what I do. Sometimes, it’s hard. Positivity is every day but you have to tackle things day-by-day. The moods may shift but positivity remains.”
Lil B’s rabid fanbase and cult-like following seemingly lives and breathes for all of his love-fueled tweets. His Instagram feed is full of people (mostly women) professing their love for the 28-year-old artist.
But you don’t want to get on Lil B’s bad side. He’s infamous for his curses, but he’s quick to point out the curses are strictly coming from The BasedGod.
“Right now, everybody’s good,” he says. “But Lil B can’t curse. The BasedGod curses. I just let folks know. Don’t put the blame on Lil B. No, no, no.”
In 2011, The BasedGod cursed NBA superstar Kevin Durant when he was playing for Oklahoma City Thunder after he dissed Lil B. He lifted the curse for good in 2016 after Durant went to play for the Golden State Warriors.
I tried to listen to Lil B and my mind wouldn't let me do it….can't believe this guy is relevant
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) January 29, 2011
KEVIN DURANT WILL NEVER WIN THE TITLE AFTER HE SAID "LIL B" IS A WACK RAPPER,
"THE BASEDGODS CURSE"#THEBASEDGODSCURSE ON DURANT – Lil B
— Lil B THE BASEDGOD (@LILBTHEBASEDGOD) May 26, 2011
His next target was Lonzo Ball after the L.A. Laker made a derogatory comment about Nas, but Lil B talked to Ball’s teammate Kyle Kuzma recently and as of now, no one is in immediate danger of The BasedGod curse.
“He’s cool,” Lil B says of Kuzma. “He’s a legendary player. I’m excited. The Celtics are blessed and they’re doing a great job in the finals [Eastern Conference Finals].”
At present moment, Lil B is laser focused on releasing his follow-up to 2017’s Black Ken — the Platinum Flame mixtape — which he says will be out before the month of May is over.
“It’s my second official mixtape,” he explains. “I self-produced about 28 or 29 tracks. It’s like a movie. I’m really excited about it. I engineered the production too. Black Ken was interesting. I collaborated with a few people on that one. I produced everything, but I worked with four different engineers. On this one, I engineered all the production and wrote the lyrics. This project I was hands on with it.
“I’m just waiting to get it back from the mastering folks. It’s getting the next level of treatment right now. When I’m done with that, it will be here. It’s going to come out any day this month. Look out.”
As Lil B continues getting his music together, he wants to stay away from the drama. Last October, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie and his entourage jumped Lil B backstage at Rolling Loud 2017. Rather than retaliate, he approached the situation with that Lil B love and forgiveness, and eventually squashed it.
“Based is about being brave and being honorable and staying positive and doing things a reasonable person would do,” he explains. “I was extremely positive. It was about to get crazy. I’m going to brush it off, so hopefully somebody might be like, ‘You know what? Lil B wasn’t tripping, so maybe I don’t need to trip. I can relate.’ We’re all going through something. We’re all learning.”
Lil B also wants people to know he’s ready to work with everybody. Despite his former beef with Joey Bada$$, he insists they’re cool. The two traded diss tracks back in 2013 with Lil B dropping “I’m The Bada$$” and Joey replying with “Don’t Quit Your Day Job,” a quote he took from his late Pro Era brother Capital Steez.
“That was hilarious,” he says. “God bless Joey. That’s a legend. RIP Capital Steez. Shout out to Pro Era. They’re all legends.
“Shout out to Post Malone. There’s a lot of folks I respect and that are doing their thing. I’m ready to embrace everybody in Hip Hop. I want to get the love going, speak my peace and let people know my truth.”
Lil B is taking it full circle on May 31 when he reunites with The Pack for a Vans House Party alongside Vic Mensa and KAMI in Chicago.