Photo: Clayton Hauck
Ellen DeGeneres, Usher Raymond, Regis—these are just a few of the people Lil B—a.k.a Based God, a.ka. Brandon McCartney—referred to on stage in one of Pitchfork’s loopiest performances of the weekend.
It’s Based God’s modus operandi. The 23-year-old Californian has maintained a rabid cult following based on his nonsensical lyrics and vague do-goodery philosophy. (“Practice safe sex! Respect women!”)
The combination made for some intriguing live theatre as Based, wearing a long-sleeved floral shirt, took the stage alone, no hypemen, no DJs—nothing. (He rapped over beats delivered from somewhere offstage.) His charisma would have to keep the fans happy—and it certainly did. There were multiple back-flipping stage dives, strangely shaped balloons, a couple of people who, for reasons not entirely clear, had frying pan flippers.
People danced with abandon and Based encouraged it. His best moments were when he went off-script, though, to tell the crowd that he loved them even if they didn’t love him. Or to talk about how he was J.K. Rowling. “I’m just the guy that changed music forever,” Lil B said.
You couldn’t tell whether he was joking or serious. But it didn’t seem to matter.