There’s no point in talking about Lil B without mentioning how prolific he is. There’s a ridiculous amount of music from the Bay Area legend—albums, mixtapes, instrumental experiments, and bizarre off-the-cuff collaborations with Skepta and Chance the Rapper are all part of his discography. There’s no right or wrong place to start.
With songs ranging in quality from spontaneous freestyles to genre landmarks, he’s one of the most unpredictable artists alive, but that’s also part of what makes him so fascinating. His bizarre charm, infectious positivity, and fearless experimentation are but a few of the reasons he’s one of the most influential rap artists of the past decade.
Putting together a list of his top ten best songs is pretty much impossible, which is why we saw fit to pick favorites from each year instead. We’ve tracked the best song he’s released each year since 2009, and included his early hit as part of The Pack, “Vans.” And of course, no list about Lil B would be complete without some classic tweets.
When The Pack emerged mid-’00s with their hit “Vans,” Lil B was just 17. Accompanied by Young L, Stunnaman, and Lil Uno, he was already flaunting his unique cadence long before he became one of the most influential rappers of all-time. The hyphy sneaker-anthem acted as the launching pad for Lil B’s career, with a number of releases from The Pack following before he found his own voice years later.
Working on a pair of mixtapes with Young L producing, he kept busy, fostering his talents and continually changing things up. 2007 and 2008 might have be a little more quiet, but thinking of it as the sort of calm before the storm makes a long of sense, because no one is as prolific as Lil B would become just a few years after “Vans.”
2009: “Like a Martian”
After a brief period of figuring out what direction to take himself as a solo artist, Lil B got a proper start in 2009. And what a way to reintroduce yourself to the world. His viral success wouldn’t come until the next year, but “Like a Martian” is the stuff of legend. When Kanye said his second verse on “New Slaves” was the best verse of all-time, Danny Brown simply responded, “Lil B ‘Like A Martian’ 1st verse is better than ‘new slaves’ 2nd verse.” He’s not wrong, either.
2009 also saw Lil B get his Twitter account, a blessed moment for all of humanity.
man I have turned emo its very fun and relaxing.
plus you don’t get excited about anything
— Lil B THE BASEDGOD (@LILBTHEBASEDGOD) May 28, 2009
2010: “Wonton Soup”
2010 was Lil B’s year. He entered the hip-hop conversation like a goddamn bulldozer with ignorant, over-the-top tracks like “Wonton Soup.” Lil B delivered bangers fans still quote to this day, but there was a lot going on beneath the surface.
Working with Clams Casino, perhaps most notable with the legendary “I’m God,” Lil B can be largely credited with creating the cloud rap genre. Rapping over looped Imogen Heap samples, this is the era of Lil B that defined a whole sub-genre. This is where Lil B’s influence can be felt the most, with songs like “B.O.R.” and “Cold War.” Lil B experimented successfully with a spoken word approach that was wholly fresh, even if it didn’t fit into preconceived notions of what rap should be.
If Kanye West Dosent Acknowledge Me Over Twitter And Work With Me On Music, When i see him im going to fuck him in the ass – Lil B
— Lil B THE BASEDGOD (@LILBTHEBASEDGOD) October 24, 2010
The production, which no other rapper would consider touching at the time, opened the doors for artists everywhere to get a little weirder. Obviously Lil B’s influence is far more than what he will or won’t rap over, as his stream-of-conscious cadence, use of the internet, and prolific nature have had an even bigger impact on hip-hop, but what he contributed with the birth of cloud rap will be a lasting legacy.
If Lil B just getting started in 2010, 2011 saw him get in rhythm. Continuing his genre-defining work with Clams Casino, 2011 included some classic Lil B albums: Angels Exodus and Illusions Of Grandeur are both iconic releases, but perhaps his most notable drop came with the controversially titled I’m Gay (I’m Happy). The discourse that followed, with death threats and accusations of homophobia, helped raise Lil B’s stature even further. Both the album’s title and The Game’s beef with Lil B pale in comparison to the Kevin Durant saga, which started in 2011 with a curse.
KEVIN DURANT WILL NEVER WIN THE TITLE AFTER HE SAID “LIL B” IS A WACK RAPPER,
“THE BASEDGODS CURSE”#THEBASEDGODSCURSE ON DURANT – Lil B
— Lil B THE BASEDGOD (@LILBTHEBASEDGOD) May 26, 2011
Durant finally won a title last year—after Lil B lifted the curse, when Durant joined his hometown Warriors in 2016. Much has been said over whether the Based God’s curse is real or not, but there’s no denying that it helped bolster his already rising celebrity status.
2012: “I Love You”
Lil B made his name by releasing insane amounts of music, but 2012 really saw him going above and beyond. When the dust settled, he released almost 20 projects in 12 months. There’s so much worth getting into, too, even if it was the year we got the questionable ambient album, Choices and Flowers. Still, he started off the year especially strong with God’s Father. Clocking in at just over two hours, it might just be his single best project.
when i stare at crabs or animals it makes me want TO NOT have sex nd i start feeling werid as a human being like what am i truly- Lil B
— Lil B THE BASEDGOD (@LILBTHEBASEDGOD) March 16, 2012
Full of memorable tracks and some equally great videos, the mixtape proudly flaunts his versatility, creativity, and one-of-a-kind persona. Whether he’s rapping with technical prowess on “I Own Swag” or showing his tenderness on “I Love You,” God’s Father is everything we’ve come to expect from Lil B in one release without any of the chaff.
It’s positive and ignorant in equal measure, but if we had to pick just one song (we do), then it’d have to be “I Love You.” Even if the visuals came a year later, the combination of the song and the video, which sees Lil B crying in a pet store, is one of the most memorable things he’s ever done.
2013: XXL Freestyle
Seeing Lil B rapping alongside Kendrick Lamar for XXL’s freshman freestyle was absolutely thrilling back in 2013, and in a way it still is. Just like the previous years of his career up to this point, 2013 was a whirlwind. Nothing prepared us for his longest, non-compilation mixtape, though. 05 Fuck Em, which released near the end of the year, sits at almost six hours long.
Girls DM ME if you wanna grab my butt or hug me and why – Lil B
— Lil B THE BASEDGOD (@LILBTHEBASEDGOD) August 23, 2013
It says a lot about Lil B that his fans are willing to accept such a mammoth release with open arms, though. It’s also worth pointing out that the incredibly generous release features production from Mac Miller. Oh, his verse is easily the best part of the XXL freestyle.
2014: “No Black Person Is Ugly”
Every once in a while, even the most casual listeners of Lil B have to take a moment to appreciate one track in particular. “No Black Person is Ugly” is one of those tracks. Straight to the point, the song is an empathetic unfurling of Lil B’s mind. There’s nothing particularly fancy about it, especially when it comes to the production, but that’s also what’s so beautiful about it.
Lil B often tries to do too much with his music, and while that’s always admirable and part of his charm, “No Black Person is Ugly” is affective because he keeps things streamlined. He even cuts himself off halfway through his lines at times, delivering a performance that’s far from perfect but wonderfully sincere.
NO BLACK PERSON IS UGLY – Lil B
— Lil B THE BASEDGOD (@LILBTHEBASEDGOD) July 30, 2014
Special shout out to “Fuck KD,” though, which has one of the best diss track hooks of all-time.
Unfortunately, 2015 saw Lil B slow down a little. It’s not really his fault—Lil B’s apartment caught fire early in the year. Still, he kept working, and he even managed to find time to put out a collaborative freestyle mixtape with Chance the Rapper.
@realDonaldTrump there are no illegal immigrants these are humans walking on the ground and earth!!!!! Stop being a meanie! – Lil B
— Lil B THE BASEDGOD (@LILBTHEBASEDGOD) July 7, 2015
He still gave us plenty to enjoy. Right at the last moment of the year he dropped the almost four-hour mixtape Thugged Out Pissed Off, because a year isn’t complete without a surplus of Lil B. His remix of Drake and Future’s “Jumpman” is the easy highlight of the mixtape, and perhaps the only remix of the song worth a damn.
Following the setbacks of 2015, Lil B laid low in 2016. He did, however, team up again with Clams Casino for the latter’s 32 Levels, appearing on three tracks.
“The BasedGod” wants to speak,As life unravels and superstars make decisions that change lifes, welcome home KD the curse is lifted – Lil B
— Lil B THE BASEDGOD (@LILBTHEBASEDGOD) July 4, 2016
Of those tracks, “Witness” is the immediate highlight, further exemplifying why these two work so well together while exploring new ground with a more aggressive tone. With the way these two bolstered each other’s career, it’s heart-warming to see them working so perfectly together over five years after the iconic “I’m God.”