Review Summary: A superb foray into poetry laid down over a sublime combination of ambient and IDM results in the best album of the year so far and Based God’s most cohesive work to date.
In hip-hop, when anything (or anybody) peculiar or out of the ordinary comes along, it’s usually heavily praised. Thus, why Lil B isn’t widely adored is beyond me. Sure, on the surface he may appear as just your average sap in the rap game; he’s tight with Soulja Boy, he raps about being the recipient of oral sex and having lots of money, and he has ridiculous lines like “B*tches suck my d*ck ‘cause I look like a Frenchman.
” But dig deeper and you’ll find out why Lil B has garnered 31,000-plus followers on Twitter and a handful of blogs devoted to worshipping the very ground he walks on. He’s far from your average rapper. He dons tribal African bead necklaces rather than a diamond-encrusted chain, he’s worn the same pair of Vans for nearly five years now, and he tweets blessings to his fans and their families on early, early Saturday nights when other young rappers are downing shots and courting drunken college girls. Now that it’s been made evident Lil B has always been different, it can easily be said Roses Exodus
has transcended to a new level of obscurity. A superb foray into poetry laid down over a sublime combination of ambient and IDM results in the best album of the year so far and Based God’s most cohesive work to date.
On Roses Exodus
, we find a Lil B far removed from his fun, trademarked based raps where he can be heard hilariously referring to himself as a lesbian, bragging about ejaculating into a woman’s hair, and rapping about other outlandish things of the sort. No, here we find a morally inquisitive and intellectually charged Based God that is sure to please even those who find some of his choice lyrics to be amateur. Sure, he occasionally delves into discussing his purported rescue of hip-hop from certain peril, but largely, Lil B can be found introspectively musing, uttering eccentric metaphors, and conveying disappointment in humanity. On “Sun and Snow (Remix)” he portrays humans as creatures of selfish nature through an almost vegan stance, stating "Who are we to judge and kill another animal and eat it and say his life isn't as important as ours?
" Through sentiments like this, Lil B proves himself to be a legitimate gentle soul, a pleasing rarity in a time in which rappers involve themselves in hyper-masculine posturing and billionaire lifestyle bravado. Although Lil B may seem to leave some thoughts incomplete, and subsequently, seem stupid, he’s actually creating room for interpretation. A fill-in-the-blank attitude is somewhat adopted throughout the record, and it makes for a more engaging album which at times can seem like a little puzzle.
Never one to stylistically conform, Lil B’s flow throughout his solo career always defied the typical AABB hip-hop delivery, but on Roses Exodus
, his flow is exceptionally bizarre. Rather than steadily streaming, Lil B pops in and out of the songs to dictate his poetry throughout the course of the record. But the manner in which he presents those lyrics is truly what makes this album work. His delivery is atmospheric and his voice is raw and passionate. He recites his lyrics as if he has his head in the clouds and, unlike many rappers, sounds like he actually cares.
To compliment his dazed mindset, Lil B crafts a wonderfully atmospheric set of beats. A beautifully textured, distinctive combination of ambient and IDM, the production is perfect for Lil B’s dreamy demeanor and sneaky vocals. Instrumentals range from textured and psychedelic (the sharp, operatic strings, oozy, whirring synths, and slimy, boinging bass guitar on “Truth and War” change decibel frequencies just like Lil B changes vocal tempos) to beautiful and dark (the gentle acoustic noodling and thundering, menacing organs of “Sun and Snow (Remix)” make for a pretty, but black track), and Lil B sounds fantastic over everything.
But what’s most surprising (for those who are familiar with Lil B) is that Roses Exodus
is Lil B’s most accessible record. Despite its quirkiness, it’s way more cohesive than Lil B’s other albums, which are just sloppy (but good) compilations of previously released YouTube material. Even more impressive, Lil B composed, produced, and wrote the entire album himself, save the live guitarist on the final track.
On Roses Exodus
Lil B is sincere, thoughtful, and pure, something many rappers cannot claim to be. You may think he’s your typical mainstream “idiot-rapper” but with Roses Exodus
you can take everything you thought you knew about Lil B (and perhaps even hip-hop) and throw it out the window. If you’re a Lil B skeptic or hater (as I once was) this album could turn you around to his side pretty quickly. Atmospheric, pure, wholesome, and thoughtful, the ‘rare, secret yellow album’ Lil B had been hyping on his blog for awhile is delightfully surprising. As it stands Roses Exodus
is the best ‘hip-hop’ album of the year, and will be a strong candidate by the time we’re raising our champagne glasses on New Year’s Eve.