Monday, June 8, 2015


He is to rap what Bol[1] is to rap blogging, and not just because he is fat. He also owes something to Lil B[2].

[1] Nickname of a portly rap blogger properly known as Byron Crawford.  In the mid/late-'00s, the popularity of Crawford's blog Mindset Of A Champion earned him a spot on XXL's blog cabal alongside the likes of Dallas Penn, Noz, something called Sickamore, and Elliott Wilson's own incompetent attempt at zooming into the digital age.  It was a simpler time, when the Internet still held promise as a potential utopia of fiscal and intellectual autonomy, and the gatekeepers of the print model stood before the "blogosphere" with something like trepidation (see also Tom Breihan's pioneering hate-click project Status Ain't Hood, a Village Voice property).

Bol's schtick was to throw cherry bombs at everyone and everything in the rap world: rappers, the industry, other bloggers.  He betrayed his spiritual debt to The Howard Stern Show with frequent references to Siobhan Meow, a transgendered member of the Wack Pack.  Bol was funnier than the likes of Star or Charlemagne, and he was on his way to becoming the Stern of the Rap Blog world when he made the fateful decision to appear on The Parker Report.  In contrast to the scowling keyboard warrior pictured in his avatar, the real life Bol was bashful and chubby, smirking and stammering through answers like a prankster called in to the Principal's office for whoopee cushion indiscretions.  Although the video subjected Bol to the other side of ridicule, he continues to post acerbic takes on news items, publish eBooks, and curate a photo series of attractive white women.  When the Rap Bible is written, he will be remembered for the introduction of "T.I." and "nullus" into the lexicon, as well as the time Bun B left an angry comment on his blog.

[2] Dipset's contributions to pushing the culture forward won't be fully appreciated until years after the fact, and we're still coming to terms with Lil B's influence (direct, indirect) on what is permissible in today's rap environs.  For one, he resuscitated what De La pioneered: the wise guy shooting spitballs at the culture while still working within it, insiders posing as outsiders or vice versa.  He opened the possibilities of humor in an age dominated by textbook setups and punchlines.

Beatking benefits from the context Lil B established, where the lines between irony and sincerity are irrelevant and the rap game and memescape are one and the same.  Like the little one, he dusts off the language of late '90s Southern rap without resorting to cheap parody, an understanding of balance that delivers him from the wacky Photoshop filter-rap of a Lil Ugly Mane.  But even tho a sizable amount of his catalog is nigh unlistenable, Lil B revolutionized rapping by ignoring as many rules as he could before his music was unrecognizable as rap.  Regardless of faith, a clever critique like Beatking's will never better the original focus, on which it depends for definition.  At some point he will write him into a corner, but his constraints may turn out to be his greatest strength.


  1. Man I don't hear the Lil b thing at all. But I'm more of the Al Shipley school regarding Lil B—he considers the line about Lil B being the "most influential" rapper a "half truth shell game"

  2. I think they have aesthetic kinship, not sonic, in the way they treat their source material - exaggerating the major features of each to the point of absurdity (this only applies to Lil B's Cash Money homages). Both seem very self-conscious of their confinement in genre and history, which comes out as a skewed take in lieu of full engagement.

    Something meta about both, even tho I usually hate that sort of thing. I once read a criticism of Frank Zappa that cut to the quick of why I can't stand Zappa, basically arguing that he condescended to pop music. He acted like his classical shit was what a talent like his really deserved, so his rock albums were always parody and pastiche and he never had to put out something genuine and stand vulnerable before the world. Lil B and Beatking are anomalies within their world just like Zappa was amongst hippies or whomever, but their self-awareness is without the condescension.

    What is this "half truth shell game" thing?

  3. Whoa, I didn't know there was Byron Crawford footage out there! He IS bashful! (He keeps tilting his head, like in the classic scowl shot, but it just makes him look more bashful. I just wanted to pinch his cheeks! (Nullus! Ha ha!)) The funny thing about rap bloggers is you guys are all nerds who hate nerds.
    Keep up the great blogging, ya nerd!

    1. I think during the whole fiasco he revealed that the scowl shot was just a photo of some random dude.

      Also, I love nerds.