Hope you're not sick of hearing about Lil B yet, but if you are, you might want to just fast-forward through 2k11. It's shaping up to be a pretty Based year, what with the Berkeley's rapper's MTV appearance, XXL Freshman class cover, SXSW appearances (juiced up by Diddy and Odd Future), and even a new single that sounds basically like, well, a good rap song.
And now this: Long an irregular presence on the live stage -- over the last year, the Internet star played two sold-out shows to ministers of the blogosphere in New York, but no headlining hometown sets -- Lil B recently inked a deal with tour giant Live Nation for a string of shows around the East Coast and the Midwest. He also lined up a headlining show at Mezzanine here in San Francisco, set for April 21.
"It's for sure the first [Bay Area] show of this new era of people being aware of Lil B," his manager, Sebastian Demian, tells SF Weekly.
It might also be a sign of what's in the future for Brandon McCartney, a
21-year-old member of East Bay rap collective the Pack. The Live Nation
deal is only four shows and two festival appearances, but Demian says
he's hoping to expand that to a larger tour. And the fact that Live
Nation made a deal with Lil B -- an independent artist who isn't signed
to any label -- is surprising on its own. Demian says the people he
worked with Live Nation couldn't remember making such an agreement
McCartney's unsigned status could also change soon. Though the rapper cherishes his independence -- and has risen to notoriety solely by crafting a ubiquitous presence online -- Demian says he's heard from multiple major labels interested in signing Lil B. We're in talks with some labels," Demian says. "We're very much excited about bossing up."
The next step, though, is taking Lil B's live shows -- which have received mixed-to-negative reviews -- to a bigger audience. Many of his fans are young, and finding an all-ages venue for the rapper (who is barely of drinking age himself) has been a challenge. But Lil B is approaching live shows the same way he approached social networking sites: the more, and the more frequently, the better: "We hope to take it all over the country and spread the message of based thinking," Demian says. "[He made] over 100 Myspace pages. Over 100 videos on YouTube last year. Now we'll do over 100 shows."
Even without touring, Li B has penetrated curiously far into the national culture -- and not just in the world of hip-hop. A UC Berkeley professor used B's video "Age of Information" in a class. Demian says the web-savvy rapper recently did an interview for Wired magazine. And he's even got a documentary -- called,. of course, Basedworld -- coming out this summer. So, Lil B skeptics and haters, better cover your ears (and eyes!) now.