Lil B is unabashedly aware of the legendary and somewhat confounding status he occupies in popular culture. In response to claims that he has brought about the “death of rap,” the forerunner of Internet rap says “I feel. I’m a feeler and I love.” As he likens himself to Albert Einstein, Lil B (born Brandon McCartney) is perhaps best summed up by this proclamation. Having grown as an artist and a beacon of positivity, Lil B touches on the LGBT movement, gender-fluid fashion, and the Black Lives Matter movement, managing to speak respectfully even of Donald Trump in the process. Read an excerpt of his interview with Dazed below and check out the entire story here.
Can you explain the Based philosophy?
You know Based really means being yourself, staying positive, and not caring what people say. Just trying to have people accept you for who you are. Based used to mean a negative thing. Around where I was from, it was from a part where people were slower, not smart or crazy, but I turned that around to make that positive.
You speak about the importance of loving yourself a lot. What is love?
Love is music, love is what we’re doing now, love is a lot of things. A lot of things represent love. Being alive means love. I feel everything. I feel everything, so when you feel, you know you have emotions and everything. Music is a feeling. Music is energy, vibrations and sounds.
What part do women play in your music and Based philosophy?
I appreciate women so much. I think the part that they play is that I just admire women. I love every part of the woman. I think the woman is what is amazing. I think humans are amazing. I’m a big fan of women – I’m just a big fan.
Would you call yourself a feminist?
I definitely see myself as as much a feminist as I can try to be. I know I’m not perfect, but I definitely feel the connection with women. I feel them.
Can you tell us about ‘Free Love’, your recent collaboration with Vic Mensa that was released for Pride?
My perspective is that I love the movement. I love LGBT, I love gays, I love people, so I just did that because I wanted listeners to know that it’s important. I support people and I support that, so I wanted to put my Based stamp on that. I support them.
You’ve appeared on a few American TV channels, like ESPN, wearing dresses and earrings. What are your thoughts on gender fluidity in fashion?
I think it’s just about being yourself and embracing what connects to you. Also, embracing what connects to you and appreciating you. I think life is a constant growing and so many new things. Every day is new. Me coming here on the first day, coming here to Helsinki, meeting the people, seeing the love. You grow everyday and that links back to fashion. You grow.
How do you feel about Donald Trump?
I’m not really paying attention to Donald Trump. I respect him as a business man, but I don’t know much of him as a politician but I don’t really pay attention to him. I can’t talk too much about him.
What about the Black Lives Matter movement?
Well, I’m black (laughs)! You know I think with Black Lives Matter, it is extremely special and important. I definitely feel that.
How has it been working with Frank Ocean?
Frank Ocean was amazing. He called me to come out and do some stuff for his album, Boys Don’t Cry, that’s coming out. Frank is amazing. He’s a beautiful man with a beautiful voice. He’s a very strong man, a very strong person. Anything that I can do to help him, I will.
Can you tell us anything about Boys Don’t Cry?
If Frank releases. Let’s see what Frank releases. Frank has the material.