Lil B is more than a rapper—he's a beacon of light. The Based God headlined Converse and Thrasher Magazine's last SXSW day party at the Scoot Inn. And even though he shared a bill with mostly punk bands, his was the rowdiest set of the afternoon. Stage divers and crowd surfers were in no short supply—his performance felt as hardcore as it gets.
The California rapper got to the stage 20 minutes after the scheduled time, and didn't stay much longer than that. No one seemed to mind. The first words out of his mouth were, "Let's keep this respectful. Let's keep this positive." It was necessary after a bleak Saturday morning with heavy clouds and sporadic rain had turned much of the venue into a mud pit.
The sun didn't show until right before the Based God's set, almost as if it were a sign that we, the audience, were about to obtain religious enlightenment.
The internet icon has a massive catalog to select from, and it seemed as though the crowd knew all of it intimately. He opened with "Praying 4 A Brick" moving into "Thug Life"—the line "Man these b-tches on my d-ck because I look like Obama" seemed to have particular resonance with the crowd.
He kept cutting the sound to say, "I got that little shirt." Explanation: He was wearing a very tight shirt.
Before launching into "Ellen Degeneres," Lil B invited everyone on stage, his hypeman warning, "Protect the Based God at all costs." When it became too much to handle (the makeshift stage had dozens of people on it), the Based God asked everyone to leave, but not before adding, "I just wanna say to every beautiful new artist that I met here, when you hear, 'F-ck [your] record, f-ck that f-ck. I'm happy everyone is alive.'"
He then went on to request a moment of silence for the victims of Thursday night's tragedy, successfully silencing a couple hundred people. Those skateboarding next to the venue also stopped.
The twenty minute set could have been much longer, but no one left unfulfilled. "Hey, I'm Lil B the living legend, and there are so many living legends here," he would announce between songs, complimenting his fans, repeatedly declaring, "I love you, I love you." Lil B showgoers are more than fans—they're devout followers. They believe in the Based God and his church of positivity in rap. At SXSW, they came together to worship. It was a powerful thing to watch.