Coachella 2011: Lil B, Decibels of swag, spatulas and the occasional inflatable dolphin
The T-shirt literature in the crowd at Lil B's performance includes: “Thank You Based God,” “Swag on a Hundred Thousand” and the more direct, “Swag.” There is everything but the chef's hats during the San Francisco rapper's set in the Oasis tent.
Count the items in the air: spatulas, tongs, an inflatable dolphin and, in the crowd, an adolescent Glenn Danzig doppelgänger. He rocks a Suicidal Tendencies tee and mom jeans hacked to look like pantaloons. There is an absurdly pretty girl in a bikini pumping her fists. A teenage Bill-Gates-looking guy with a matching nerd backpack is pogoing in front of me. They are all chanting, “Swag.” There are 500 more of them.
Lil B is onstage and has just announced to the crowd that he will make history by titling his album “I’m Gay.” And then he will see the Arcade Fire. Everything he does is legendary. Coachella is legendary. I am legendary. You are legendary. The Internet is legendary. It doesn’t matter if this is true or not. Lil B will tell you that it is. He will also tell you that he looks like Jesus. He doesn’t look like Jesus -- at least by Mel Gibson’s definition. But then again, he also has a song about how he looks like Mel Gibson.
Lil B, born Brandon McCartney, has spent the last four minutes rapping over New Age music and offering platitudes about positivity and sex. Before that, he was rapping over Balearic blog favorites Air France. He is Tony Robbins by way of Frank “T.J.” Mackey, except 21 years old and impossible to take seriously. He's got a mouthful of silver and is rapping about Ellen DeGeneres, wonton soup and the Internet. How he is pretty and how you can be pretty too. The people here know every word. He is the Swami of Swag.
Someone holds up a huge bottle of vodka. Lil B crowd surfs with it and takes a massive swig. He wants the vodka. He also tells everyone he wants some napkins, “because I’m the best.” I don’t believe he’s the best, but he knows how to create a moment, and sometimes that’s as important.
A twentysomething in striped soccer socks, a green baseball hat and a T-shirt starts crowd surfing. It looks like Tyler, the Creator from Odd Future. It is Tyler, the Creator. Why wouldn’t it be? The rest of the crew arrives to audience fury.
Lil B tells the crowd, “I’m the prettiest ... I’m Nicki Minaj." Someone passes Odd Future's Jasper the Dolphin the inflatable dolphin and he starts stroking it. But, then, what else is he supposed to do?
-- Jeff Weiss