Nothing could have prepared me for what happened to my soul the day I saw the Based God. Not one thing. Nothing could have prepared me for the emotions that I would feel, for the love that I would radiate and for the otherworldly experience that was seeing Lil B live, in person. I thought I was based before, I thought I cared about people, but something about seeing and hearing Lil B in front of my very own eyes just did something quite unlike just listening to his music at home.
This was a religious experience and there is no other way to put it. My life changed after seeing the Based God in the flesh, hearing his voice and teachings and feeling his fans sweat pour over me as we shared the same mosh pit for 55 minutes. I felt at peace with the world, and not only that, I felt genuine compassion for the random people around me, like they were my brothers and sisters. I hugged more people than I can remember, and said, “I love you” to even more. Some people looked at me like I was a freak, but most responded in the same based way, returning the hug or the “I love you,” touched by my attempt to connect with as many people as I could; because these were my brothers and sisters. The people I moshed and sweated and danced with believed the exact same thing as Lil B: live a based life.
There were people that got to Pitchfork at 8 a.m. (the gates did not open until 12:00 p.m.) who as they were let into the park rushed instantly to the red stage where Lil B would be performing at 5:15 p.m. – 6:10 p.m. They promptly set up camp for the next five hours waiting to see Lil B. I never met anyone who personally had done this, but Patch did and the way he talked about them made me wish we had chosen to do the same thing. I think the one thing that seeing Lil B live taught me was that, I had never truly met a based individual, and not just a based individual, a true, real based person. Someone who would wait over 10 hours to see their hero, forgoing the rest of the music and any comfort all in the name of the Based God.
I didn’t have my based revelation immediately. In fact, the show itself started out kind of frightening. I had been waiting for the Based God since the moment El-P left the stage, positioned about 3 rows from the front. Patch was a little closer than me and actually was able to grab a hold of the barrier between the crowd and stage. I was content with being 3 rows back and when my friend Sarah found us, we were able to find her a spot right in front of me. The people around us were so awesome my want to move to Chicago increased 10 fold on the spot. They were not only based, but knew their Pitchfork facts and tunes and we all proceeded to discuss the world of music and Lil B for over an hour.
The scary part was, once Lil B arrived on stage, the crowd went absolutely insane. So insane that the entirety of the crowd behind us surged forward to the point that most of the people collapsed. I ended up trapped under about five people hardly able to breathe or move. Sarah was under me screaming and crying and I was sure she had broken a bone. I went into overdrive and attempted to throw everyone off of us and after about 30 seconds people finally got up. Sarah was white as a sheet at this point so I did the only thing I could and grabbed her and started moving people out of the way as we headed towards a side where she could get some air. We finally made it all the way to the left side of the stage where I got Sarah up against a fence with me standing and essentially protecting her from any kind of moshing. It was incredibly more peaceful out here and she was able to catch her breath. Through all of this though, I was weirdly calm and I slowly started to become possessed with the based spirit. As soon as I knew Sarah was ok, it begin to sink in that I was in the presence of the Based God and I started to go a little crazy.
It started with me just screaming “Thank you Based God” over and over and I slowly began to get more emotional and began to hold my face in my hands, just over come with the moment. Tears and sweat mixed on my face into a salty concoction and I couldn’t hold still. Pretty soon after, I couldn’t even keep my voice still as I continually screamed, “Thank you Based God” and “I love you Based God.” I was itching to get into the thick of things again and begin cooking and finding more touched fans but as a good based boy was not leaving until Sarah looked better. After about five minutes she realized how I felt and gave me the OK and I leaped into the crowd slapping backs, yelling and just trying to get as far in as possible.
I will never forget that feel of utter suffocation that was attempting to move through that crowd. No one wanted to let me through but everyone also wanted to get closer. So it was like swimming through a human sized ball pit, which was jammed, packed with people also trying to move. That’s not to say moving was impossible, but without pushing rather violently or just ramming shoulders, movement was utterly unmanageable. I gave up trying to find Patch and my old spot and instead focused on creating cooking circles.
This might have been the best part of the show with the crowd. All I had to do in a crowd full of based folk was yell “Who’s tryna cook??” and get just one other person interested and we would start pushing people to form fairly big circles of people. I would then move into the middle and start stirring, flipping and throwing in ingredients, yelling out instructions to the people surrounding me. Some knew exactly what to do and others needed help but through my guidance I was able to make about three or four successful cooking circles that always ended in many hugs and exchanges of “I love you” and “thank you Based God.” I remember seeing people’s looks of shock at seeing me ordering them, but I also remember people’s look of excitement to see a cooking circle. What I remember most though, was the camaraderie that existed between us all. I treated everyone like I had known them forever and never once did someone reject my love. Obviously this was a Lil B crowd so I expected that but still having it happen was incredibly enlightening.
To be 100% honest, I really don’t remember much of the music Lil B played. I had become so overcome with emotion and the literal fact I was in the presence of Lil B, I mostly spent the concert yelling and cooking and hugging. Listening to the music quickly became the least of my worries, but I do remember hearing “I’m God,” the song about eating pussy, and “Wonton Soup.”
The thing I really remember was the speeches Lil B was constantly giving. He spoke of the trials and tribulations he had been through, he spoke of love and he spoke of spreading his word. He was always just so kind and caring, anything he said got a reaction out of the crowd. All alone up on stage, with not even a DJ, Lil B seemed to fill it with his presence to the point where it felt like the stage was about to explode, just with Lil B himself running around spreading love. He kept saying, “Lil B loves you” and asking the crowd to chant “I love life” and it all quickly became a beautiful ceremony of sorts. Later, I had a friend tell me this particular show had made it into an article about Buddhism because Lil B had actually led us in his own, guided mediation. He told us if we trusted him, then to close our eyes and he proceeded to talk to us about love. It was stunning how touched I was and his voice is engrained in my brain.
I think my absolute favorite thing in the world is when I say some off hand comment like “thank you based god” and someone says, oh you like Lil B? I just get so fucking excited to hear that there are other people in the world that bump Lil B. Some times all people ever know about Lil B are the phrases like “Thank you Based God, please fuck my bitch Based God.” They hear the word swag and are out. So meeting someone who makes the adult decision to look past that and see what Lil B is actually trying to say is just so refreshing and wonderful and I see it as another victory for the world. So being in a crowd full of people who not only knew who Lil B was, but listened to his music and word was one of the best experiences of my life. Love is the most powerful and important emotion that exists in the world. I don’t think anyone can deny that, and I don’t think there is a single person in the world that would attempt to say they have never loved. So, my only question to the world is, why do you all not love Lil B and everything he stands for? I cannot think of someone in the public eye who is as positive or as loving or as genuinely concerned with the greater well being of the world.
This is the 11th time I have tried to write my review of what seeing Lil B live was like. I hoped to use each and every one of my little blurbs I had written as attempts to start this whole review and eventually I think I was mostly successful. The thing is, I cannot truly get across what I experienced in writing. How is one supposed to put words a religious experience. The Bible tried to I guess, right? And there are plenty, plenty of books talking of the Buddha’s teachings and of every kind of religion in existence. But when someone has an otherworldly experience, there really is no true way to get across how truly life changing a religious experience is. What can you say? What can I say? I can sit here and type words, but I can’t recreate feelings. I can’t do what Lil B did to me. But what I can do, and what I want to do is help pass on his message, pass on what he is trying to do and pass on a life style that if employed by even a fourth of the world, would make the planet an incredibly different place.
The last words I really remember hearing Lil B say were,
“Yes, yes you can cry to this. My names Lil B, and I love you.”
And life just seemed so simple after hearing that. When the show ended he climbed into the crowd and let as many people as he could touch him and bask in his physical presence. No artist has ever worked that hard for a crowd, and Lil B looked like he had just run a marathon with the amount of sweat he was drenched in and how exhausted his face was but he refused to leave without thanking his faithful fans. Right before he left the stage, someone had come on stage and told him it was time to leave. Lil B just said OK and proceeded to leave the stage, but through the crowd. He went and sat on the barrier and allowed everyone to touch and hug him as he passed on his love to as many as he could. Patch touched the Based God’s arm and has many incredible shots all over the internet being so close to Lil B but I sadly could not break through the masses. So I just kept screaming myself hoarse and when he finally was gone I went and stood dutifully by the fence yelling after him.
The scene of the area around the stage when Lil B was finally gone was insane. It was like a battle had just taken place with people lying and sitting down everywhere, too tired to stand. Everyone was a little wet, slick with someone’s sweat and most people were just wandering in a trance so shocked by what they had just witnessed. I myself after a few half hearted attempts to look over the high fence Lil B had gone behind sat down and just immediately started texting all of my friends how much I loved them and how much they all meant to me. I was shaking though, so drained, both physically and mentally that my fingers could not type out the texts, not to mention the fact I did not have service for some reason. So I just sat and smiled, I am sure I looked goofy. I kept wiping my sweaty face with my even more sweaty hands and at one point I must have looked like I was crying because some guy with a camera started snapping my picture and in an attempt to seem even more deranged I started my “I love you Lil B” chants again, this time with a my voice barely able to reach above a whisper. One day I will find that picture but so far, I have had no luck.
When I finally did find Patch I was beyond excited and I hugged him like I had not seen him in years. I still could not stop myself shaking and really had no idea what I was doing or what was going on. I felt like I was hypersensitive to everything going on around me and could not control much of my body and had to sit down. Toro Y Moi was playing in the background and I tried to listen but was still in a trance. I honestly felt like my life was complete. That’s how contented I was. And still, after all of that people still were at that fence, still yelling for the Based God, still trying to chase after him. Security started gently reminding people he was gone, in awe of the craze Lil B had created and not wanting to upset his clearly passionate fans.
The world seemed very loud to me when it was all done, it was like a huge whoosh had flown through my head and a loud suction had popped after the loud music stopped. Everyone’s chatter sounded like static from a TV cranked to the loudest possible volume and all I wanted to do was go to sleep. I genuinely felt bad I could not focus on Toro Y Moi, but my body would not allow it. So Patch and me slowly wandered away to find food, still dazed from the greatest show I had ever witnessed.