Lil B (Digital Cover Story)

Photos by Arturo Torres.

There was one time that I saw you in New York, and once you were done performing you stayed afterwards and talked to every fan that waited for you after the show. What inspired that?
It’s just authentically me. It’s how Lil B views things. There has been a lot of beautiful supporters that give me their perspective, and it’s always just a growth for me. It’s growth that I can continue to move forward with.

You’ve done multiple speaking events at colleges across the country. What inspired you to do that, and how is it speaking to those students and engaging them in that space?
It started with the students wanting me to do it. Me putting out my art, I think the people that really understand it are these kids that are going to these universities. They have heard different pieces of my art and they get it. It’s just been a blessing to be approved by all of these universities, and them actually wanting me to be a part of what they’re doing. I’m 100% unsigned—no managers, no agents, no labels. So they’re literally hitting up my email and we’re making it happen. I’ve lectured at New York University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of California at Riverside, University of Florida, Virginia Tech, and Carnegie Mellon. It’s been a really positive experience, and it’s great to see what these people are going to school to study for, and the impact that Lil B’s words have on them, as well as what they’re doing to impact the world themselves.

Photos by Arturo Torres.
Photos by Arturo Torres.

Do you treat your speeches as improvisational or do you already have something in mind when you do those events?
I get notified before a lecture engagement, so I’ll have some weeks of prep, [and] get ideas together I want to bring to the students. Every lecture is different—I’ll start off with an exclusive quote for the university. Everyone’s different—every [time] is a different process for how I go about writing my notes, and what I will be talking about.

Is there a conversation that you’ve had with someone, that inspired and changed you in a profound way as both a rapper and a person?
Meeting Lil Wayne, and being in the studio with him, and working on music, and being in his presence. It’s an inspiring time for me when people like him are acknowledging and understanding what Lil B is doing. I think that was a groundbreaking time for me, and I’m really happy about that.

Was there something specific he had told you that was encouraging when you met up?
Him embracing me was more than enough. Him being happy to see me—to see Wayne smile. That was big. That impacted me.

Have you ever held back telling someone how you felt?
No, I haven’t. I try to keep it transparent and grow. I think that’s the healthiest way.

When did you have that realization of wanting to be your most authentic self, and encouraging people to do the same?
Elementary school and middle school, as well as seeing the impact that music had on me when I listened to it, it made me feel a different way. I was blessed to be able to listen to a lot of different, good music, and grow up in a time where I was exposed to a lot of cool stuff.

Photos by Arturo Torres.
Photos by Arturo Torres.

How is it articulating your musical ideas to other artists?
I think that’s when I work best—grooming other artists or ushering them to cater to a sound that I’m looking for, as well as pushing them to do something that I have in mind.

That makes me think of the release you did with Chance The Rapper. How did that exchange of ideas influence you?
I think Chance is a really smart guy and talented musician. It was just really fun—he has a lot to say, and he definitely grew a lifelong fan out of me from meeting him and doing that project, and hearing his perspective and viewpoints.

What has been the best advice you’ve been given in regards to love?
Take your time to learn about it, be yourself and let the love flow. But just be yourself—that’s the most important thing.

Photos by Arturo Torres.
Photos by Arturo Torres.

Do your curses go beyond basketball and into relationships, or would you say that you’re more of a forgiver?
The curses span from relationships to businesses to anybody that’s being dishonest and fake in different ways. I know the Based God is protecting me and Lil B, but it’s all about staying real.

Do Lil B and the Based God have different perspectives on love?
That’s something that you’d have to talk to the Based God about. For Lil B, I know that he’s different, but I can tell you that the Based God loves all.

Was there anything else that you wanted to add?
I want to give a shout out to The Weeknd. I want to apologize and take back saying, “Fuck The Weeknd.” I said it for no reason and thought about why back when I said it. It’s because he un-followed me on Twitter and I felt weird about that, and I thought back to that moment and said, “Why’d I do that?” That’s not right. The Weeknd is a good guy—I talked to him before everything really blew up, and he told me how he felt. I definitely want to apologize about what I said about The Weeknd, and I want him to know that.

I’m not scared to admit if I’m wrong, after I analyze it. If I feel that I’m wrong or there’s somebody that I love and trust that says that I’m wrong, I can accept that and bring that to a discussion. I’m not afraid to learn.


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