[live review] Lil B @ the Middle East

The internet is a cold and faceless place where actions rarely have consequences. For example, if Youtube user shermrock18 wants to leave a comment to the effect of "yo who in the fuck like this bullshit ass rapper ya'll must be on crack" on LIL B's video for "(INFAMOUS) Princess BASED FREESTYLE PT.2," he or she can.

Or if BigEdaDon0316VGgang wishes to levy his/her opinion of his video for "D.O.R.(Death Of Rap)," have at it. Free country. ("u swaggin bruh? I THINK NOT! naw lil b raw tho he just aint swaggin. And what's up dat nigga mixtape called "I'm Gay" . That is not how to spread positivity lol" -- in case you were wondering.)

And that's why in an interview from this week's issue, when the Based God told me, "People love me, people hate me, people respect me, people are in denial to love me. I'm one of the biggest artists to emerge from American history, and I'll remain that," I believed him, at least on the former part of that statement. When you seemingly exist solely on the internet, people will fling vitriol in your direction without hesitation.

But last night it was all love. You'd have to be a pretty big hater to spend $20 on a ticket to a show just for the sake of trolling in person. And when he emerged from the back stairs of the Middle East to the dissonant chords of "Last Of The Basedworld," he received a pre-show pop like I've never before seen at a concert. The place was shaking, despite the fact that it was technically in a basement.

His reputation concerning his live shows is spotty at best -- marred by between song ramblings and a tendency to play cuts that no one really wants to hear for the sake of being perceived as "out there" -- so it was really a pleasant surprise to witness him deliver on every account last night.

Handling his own material without the aid of a hypeman, he ran through 90-minutes of songs people actually wanted to hear, with "Ellen Degeneres" being this writer's personal highlight. He could've kept going too. There was a feeling that nothing in his set was pre-planned. His DJ was just queuing up random instrumentals and letting Based God knock them out the park.

When he took to the stage, he was rocking a mean mug, running through each song back-to-back and keeping the asides to a minimum. But by show's end he was in the crowd, doling out hugs and assuring everyone that he would be in the back of the venue after the show for a #rare photo op.

Probably what I love most about the Based God: Despite an occasional front emitting a faux-tough guy persona, he really is one of the most positive artists working today. And while I'm not yet willing to declare him one of the biggest artists to emerge from American history, maintaining that positivity will go a long way towards him remaining one of the biggest artists to emerge from internet history.

Way up top is a collectible video for "Durty Pop," and below is some ramblings concerning world peace followed by an aborted attempt at "Cold War" followed by a song that I didn't recognize. Forgive me, he has "a thousand, damn near two thousand songs."

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