September 18, 2013

Lil BHarold Stallworth wrote this after reading a green energy book.

It’s been an unusually quiet 9-month stretch for Lil B. He’s currently on pace to release 100-odd songs by year’s end. In 2012 he recorded at least 17 mixtapes, several featuring upwards of three dozen tracks. While his productivity has nose dived into mortal territory, his influence is obvious as ever. Rick Ross’ delirious ad libs, Deniro Farrar’s cultish spin on ambient cloud rap, Riff Raff’s endearing madcap shenanigans, and A$AP Ferg’s newfound lordship are all deeply indebted to the Based aesthetic. The aforementioned artists have implemented dinky elements of Lil B’s style, but not before sanitizing the quirks and pounding out the kinks, distilling it into something much easier on the ears. Lil B, by contrast, has always jammed his influences through the narrow end of the funnel, offering sloppy, unpolished takes on the likes of MF Doom and the Big Tymers.

By the sound of “G.O.R. (God of Rap),” he’s stumbled onto Ka’s third and most ambitious album, The Night’s Gambit. The “first level” of the 10-minute record opens with grim film dialogue and medieval war drums, dovetailing into a verse wedding vague low-level hustler narratives with battle raps. The rhymes aren’t nearly as thoughtful or proficient as we’ve come to expect from Ka, but the sparse production and dire earnestness suggest they’re trying to convey the same story. Subsequent levels find Lil B reverting to absurd Based freestyles over beats that harken back to Clams Casino and The Heatmakerz’s respective heydays. Regardless how you feel about Lil B’s music, it’s fascinating to hear him further disrobe a style as thoroughly bare-boned as Ka’s.

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