Welcome to 05, the second track on this mixtape, contains the line “I’m the Grinch that stole Christmas”. Unlike his other claims that he is, for example, Miley Cyrus, Bill Clinton or Ellen Degeneres, you feel that there’s actually some truth to Lil B’s identification with the Grinch. In dropping a mammoth 101 track mixtape late on Christmas Eve, you feel that the bay area rapper did actually steal Christmas. I can’t imagine true Lil B fan whose Christmas day plans and traditions weren’t thrown out the window in favour of obsessing over the greatest gift you could possibly receive.
Until last week I’d merely dipped in and out of 05 Fuck Em, listening to tracks whose names caught my eye, but on Monday 20th January 2014 I decided to undertake the Herculean task of going start to finish, no skipping, 101 tracks, just me and the basedgod. Listening to 05 Fuck Em exclusively on my iPod, it took me four walks to work and three walks home from work (roughly about forty minutes each way) to make it to the end but I made it and I didn’t totally lose my mind.
05 Fuck Em, with its desperately eclectic mix of tracks, is basically par for the course for a Lil B mixtape. It’s ridiculously long, it’s got a broad pallet of influences and sounds, it’s got a number of bizarre party tracks, a smattering of genuine bangers and the ever-present and undeniable charm of the basedgod himself Lil B. As with most of his releases, the songs generally fall anywhere on a scale that starts at ‘ludicrous’ and ends in ‘relatively sensible’ with ‘still pretty bizarre but fair enough I see what you were trying to do’ somewhere in the middle. This isn’t a criticism though, 05 Fuck Em is all the more enjoyable because it just totally unpredictable, with its apparently totally random references to Kurt Angle, shout outs to Pixar Studios and constant claims that he’s going platinum. If you can’t find something to love about a mixtape that contains hooks like “I’m in the strip club stealing money off the flo” or “you should stop buying chains and go build a school” and contains lines like “How the fuck I’m gon’ eat with no damn chairs?” then there’s no hope left for you. You’re simply not based.
The beats on here, again, are of varying degrees of quality. Though with 101 songs you would expect some brief lapses in standard. The majority are trap-influenced, clearly a style that Lil B very much enjoys and feels comfortable spitting over, but there are also a handful of really enjoyable soul beats and some more poppy cuts that are also worth listening to. One shock inclusion was the beat on Im The Rap God, that contains a samples of Toxicity by System Of A Down. It sounds ridiculous, and it sort of is, but find me a rapper with the sheer audacity to spit about being the rap god (shots fired at Eminem?) over a System Of A Down sample, whilst simultaneously giving a shout out to his pet Keke The Adopted Tabby Cat (who also features on a track later on in the mixtape). It’s so distinctively Lil B, almost summing up his bizarre nature in one track.
At 101 tracks long you could literally write for hours about the merits of 05 Fuck Em, but I won’t. All I’m going to say is that listening to it start to finish requires a serious amount of effort. I delved deep into previously uncharted territory of my patience and perseverance but I’ve come out the other end a better person for it. Perhaps that’s the point. Perhaps Lil B created this mixtape as a physical endurance test, to push us to the limits of our listening abilities, to see if we could handle true rawness, to force us to examine ourselves and to help us better ourselves. I reached the end of 05 Fuck Em feeling more positive and more based than I’d ever felt in my life which was a truly rare experience. I genuinely felt like I’d achieved something. I felt like I too wanted to go platinum, stop selling bricks and build a school. At the start of the week I was a different person to the one writing this. I am a changed man, and for that I can only say one thing:
Thank you basedgod.
Joseph Ainscough – @TheJoeSco