Lil B The Based God: A Theological Exploration
Written by Tim Nelson
With his sheer level of output as a mixtape rapper, viral video engineer and insanely quotable social media presence and his status as behind-the-scenes master chef of internet culture, it’s almost as if Bay-Area rapper LiL B the Based God is an omnipotent entity. What follows is an attempt to describe, decode and decipher Lil B through lens of religion and metaphysics.
In the beginning there was the Internet.
And then the Internet said, let there be #BASED.
And the internet saw that it was swag.
Lil B is the internet’s holy trinity. His digital footprint renders him nigh- omnipotent. If considered from some extradimensional plane, he would appear as a superimposed sculpture of radiant light, containing all of matter and time within him. Much like the ethereal realm of Carcosa and its Yellow King, Lil B exists within the infinite space where dichotomies like irony and sincerity, insanity and total clarity intermingle in a way that renders any attempt at comprehension utterly meaningless.
By eschewing the very notion of form and categorization, the Based God is rendered omnipotnent.
As with other monotheistic belief systems that offer answers to life’s eternal questions, the Based God has both disciples and detractors. Depending on which YouTube comment one reads, he is either hip hop’s heretic or a hidden prophet. Countless legions of followers ranging from legendary producer 9th Wonder to Odd Future wordsmith Earl Sweatshirt to comedian of the moment Hannibal Buress to pop megastar Katy Perry thank Based God for the positivity He brings into their lives on a daily basis.
Soothsayers raised exclusively on older hip hop texts insist that Lil B the Based God is a failure by a secular set of standards. But to blaspheme Based God is to deny His slyly subversive talent and overwhelming sincerity. Whether haters know it or not, to speak his name is to render him even more powerful.
As an introduction for the uninitiated, what follows is an encyclopedia which may be of use to future theological scholars. My goal is to have this cited in someone’s senior thesis within the next five years.
A — Author. Often referred to as the foundational Gospel of Brandon, Takin’ Over was the book through which- at least in a historical sense- Lil B wrote himself into existence. A vastly underanalyzed text, here the foundation for many later teachings are established. Citing a generational decline in literacy, Lil B sought to communicate more directly with his disciples through mixtapes, meaning his latest transcendent wisdom is just a DatPiff download away.
B — Based. An enigmatic concept. Based is the invisible force of energy that provides some semblance of structure (or at least the illusion of structure) to our moral universe. Much like physical matter (as Heisenberg observed), Based energy cannot be quantified or observed in its elemental state. It is measurable only through the positive energy that radiates outward wherever an individual is exposed to Lil B’s music. Much like the Supreme Court’s definition of pornography in Jacobellis V. Ohio, one knows Based when one sees it. The concept of based and its relationship to Lil B remains a conundrum within the scientific community, and theological scholars have provided no clear answers to date.
Brandon McCartney’s attempts to spread knowledge of what constitutes being based have so far consisted of an NYU lecture in which he asserts that “being based is saying ‘you can hit me, I’m not going to hit you back’”. In this way, Lil B not only looks, but also teaches, like Jesus (more on that later).
C — Cooking Dance. Within Pentecostal forms of Christian worship, communion with the holy spirit is expressed through a loss of physical control over one’s own body. A physical manifestation of spiritual transcendence.
Similarly, when one feels particularly Based, he expresses his connection with the Based God through a series of movements that cultural anthropologists have come to refer to as “The Cooking Dance”. A number of Lil B’s songs are specifically orchestrated to inspire these outpourings of otherworldly-oriented affection. Through cooking, one simulates the act of preparing a meal for the less fortunate, thus demonstrating one’s connection to the Based God while preparing his or herself for their path to salvation through deeds. For neophytes, this introductory lesson on cooking from Lil B Himself should provide useful.
I- Identity Paradoxically, Lil B the Based God’s identity is defined by his ability to transcend our earthly notion of identity itself. Within a defined universe, an entity that is all powerful by its very nature must possess the ability to assume any form it sees fit. In this way, the Based God assumes the form of celebrities, historical figures and even abstract concepts in an effort to reach His followers through parables and fables.
For example, on the track “Dr. Phil”, Lil B refers to an instance when he “paid a hoe[‘s] rent” disguised as 90’s Nickelodeon celebrity puppet Cousin Skeeter. By drawing reference to this selfless act within the context of a song called “Dr Phil”, we are meant to understand that The Based God offers genuine assistance through both word and deed in a manner comparable to that of an affable black teenaged puppet who isn’t afraid to tell why your marriage is falling apart.
The many guises in which The Based God has presented himself include but are not limited to the following:
And of course…
J- Jesus. The closest of the Based God’s assumed identities to align with his pure form. He returned to earth as Jesus in 2011, and a large swatch of his female followers immediately fell to their knees before him in an expression of reverence. Additionally, he adopted the dress of Jesus Christ (with the addition of tiny pants) in an effort to appear more humbly before his disciples, much to the chagrin of the many haters who speak of him with great scorn.
K — Kevin Durant. Judas with a jump shot. Old testament prophet Nasir Jones stated that man hates what he cannot understand. Plagued by confusion and doubt, Durant made the mistake of blaspheming The Based God to his legion of followers.
At midnight on May 26th, 2011 the #basedgodscurse, an unprecedented — but necessary — act of vengeance, was formally placed on Durant. As prophesied, he has not and will never win an NBA championship so long as he shall walk the earth.
In the years since, Lil B tried out for the NBA (D-League) in an effort to defeat Judas Durant on his own terms, though he has yet to make his way onto an NBA roster. Lil B has since challenged Durant to a game of 21 and called him out on NBA TV. While these were merely divine warnings, the old testament venom of “F*CK KD” should serve as a clear reminder to all would-be soothsayers not to speak ill of the Based God
As of this writing, the #2 seed Oklahoma City Thunder are down 1–0 in their series with the San Antonio Spurs, slipping by the Memphis Grizzlies (despite the high-profile efforts of Lil B apostles to remind Durant of his impending fate) and Los Angeles Clippers, an injury to Thunder big man Serge Ibaka that has sidelined him from the series suggests that #thebasedgodscurse is alive and real. While “The Servant” (smh) may be “most reliable” or “most valuable” he will never be most Based.
No weapon that is formed against Lil B shall prosper.
L — Like A Martian. It is incredibly #rare that Lil B The Based God appears in the earthly realm as his true self to bless his followers with a live performance. In these instances, Lil B commands attention through the sheer light and heat radiating from His corporeal form. Footage of his performance at 2013’s Pitchfork Music Festival also highlights the state of frenzy His presence inspires. Even Trash Talk can be seen ‘turning up’ at the side of the stage, indicating that even the blackest hearts can be brightened when you accept the Based God into your heart.
N — New York University. In April 2012, Lil B was invited to give a lecture to his followers at NYU, where he expounded on the major tenets of Based philosophy, shared messages of positivity, and provided a more detailed window into His world view. Much like the Federalist Papers, this lecture offered clarification on a wide range of subjects that would otherwise be shrouded in mystery and open to less learned interpretations.
Through this sermon on the mount, we are made to understand that life is a gift that we didn’t ask for. That everyone has intrinsic value. That a conscious search for knowledge can never lead you down the wrong path. That the research supporting hydraulic fracking is dubious at best.
Some words to live by from the Based God:
“Let’s stop fracking. who knows about hydraulic fracking? I’m like, whodie, get that oil out the ocean!”
“Appreciate every single person. Look at them like a golden, million dollar baby” (I think Lil B may not have seen that movie all the way through…)
“How lucky we are to have this structure. Who built this? Somebody tell me who built this building, please”
“I’m not just some joke. I’m not some rapper who’s going to make some joke rock album. This is going to be real respect. This is going to be some garage punk. This is going to be for the rebels — and the women and the ladies. We about to be having a real good time.”
Thus spoke Based Zarathustra.
P- The Pack. To this day, based scholars dispute the validity of the gospels attributed to The Pack, his early hyphy disciples. For a period of time after His transition into the Based God, Lil B was content to walk among the Pack, as evidenced by his appearance on their major release before going into hibernation “Wolfpack Party”. By this point it was clear that the young man sometimes known as Lil B was already destined for a higher, #rarer calling.
S — Social Media. While nobody will dispute the value of social media for #content and #brands, vast swaths of Facebook and Twitter remain shrouded in darkness. These heathens yelp and yowl about their freshly-killed brunch, or the floor seats they got to the Macklemore concert in sad displays of boisterousness.
While many do little more than S their collective H’s, these uncivilied, unwashed masses practically cry out for deliverance. Someone must answer that cry with the wisdom and knowledge necessary to set them on the good and righteous path.
This, my friends, is the Based God’s burden.
T — Task Force. A radical, militant offshoot of Based God’s followers, who insist on literal interpretation of His word. They view themselves as vangaurds of the faith in a world without direction. And they are willing to pay the ultimate price so that they may enjoy eternal dominion in Based World with 72 virgins Lil B has retweeted.
Some call them martyrs and defenders of the faith. Others assert they misinterpret the word of the prophet and do not adhere to what Based God is truly about. Either way, YouTube comment sections live in constant fear of another attack, to the point that ordinary viewers are willing to trade anonymity for security from the next Task Force attack.
W- Wonton Soup. “And Lil B thus spoke, saying ‘Hop up out my car, then I drop my roof. Wet like Wonton soup. That’s just how I do. Then I park my car (swag), then I fuck your bitch (swag). Eat that wonton soup. That’s just how I do.” — Brandon 3:16. An oft-cited passage in the secular world, Brandon 3:16 is bandied about by those without proper knowledge of scripture.
While this passage is incredibly Based and life-affirming, one must not confuse this cooking song with the more substantive aspects of Based God’s teachings. Through songs like “Motivation”, “Giving Up”, “Illusions of Grandeur” and countless others, a clearer picture of the spiritual salvation His positivity offers begins to emerge.
Z- Zero. There is no god but Based God. Possessing the characteristics of one who is Based means accepting a Based World ordered around monotheism. That’s why Lil B’s mixtape sermons are entirely independent affairs. To share His throne would be to deny that he is, in fact, the rawest rapper alive.
Because one cannot attempt to explain that which precedes all understanding, this exploration is far from exhaustive. You can be led to Based World, but you must explore each of its 32 levels and accept His teachings into your own heart.
To conclude, a brief parable:
One day, a young hypebeast named @JodyHighroller was browsing Tumblr and sipping on a double cup of lean, retracing the Deion Sandaled steps he took to reach his current level of internet rap fame. He noticed that on some of his posts, there were two (or more) reblogs, but on others, only one. He DM’ed @LilBTheBasedGod, asking “why was there only one reblog on my old-ass tumblr posts? Did you abandon me?”
“No,” the Based God replied. “Where you see only one reblog is where I picked you up and carried you to where you are today”.
“Thank you, Based God”