Rapper Brandon Christopher McCartney, better known as Lil B or the BasedGod, laid the groundwork for the current generation of internet-based rappers. Lil B is praised highly by the hip-hop and internet community for his trend-setting ideas, but his social media accounts on Twitter and Instagram have come under scrutiny for questionable content.
All over Lil B’s Twitter feed and Instagram are photos of young women wearing almost nothing with ‘I love Lil B” written on various parts of their bodies. The age of most of these girls is unknown, but earlier this month, a few of them tweeted that they were underage when Lil B asked them for the photos. Fans of Lil B and his peers alike have taken notice of this shady practice and started to call him out for it, but their outrage feels a bit disingenuous.
The hip-hop community used to proclaim their love for Lil B daily with the slogan thank you basedgod — something Lil B coined himself — without batting an eye at his interest in young girls’ bodies. Lil B has been posting these photos for years, and no one has said anything. It’s shameful for the rap community to feign outrage when they’ve known what Lil B has been up to the whole time. It might be news that some of these girls were underage, but someone should have questioned his attraction to young women earlier.
The Twitter community ignited this anger when, on Nov. 17, he tweeted a series of photos of a young girl with I love Lil B written on her feet. The girl looks alarmingly young, and twitter was quick to notice. Suddenly fans were skeptical of Lil B, and women whom he had asked to send photos came forward to show his disregard for their age. Lil B tweeted to defend himself saying the girl in the photo he posted is an adult, despite the contradicting evidence.
So what are the implications of Lil B’s promiscuity? Well it should be clear that Lil B has questionable morals regarding his fans, but the fact that this was allowed to go on for as long as it has indicates that the world of hip-hop might be desensitized to these kind of issues. Using a position of power to be predatory is unacceptable, and yet Lil B’s fans, as well as his peers, turned a blind eye for years. There have been similar situations in the entertainment industry, but in unlike those cases, Lil B is unashamed of his infatuation with young girls and displays it for all to see.
The most alarming aspect of this story is that, despite all of the backlash, Lil B has continued to post racy photos of young women. If you check his Twitter or Instagram after reading this article, it is more than likely you will see a post like this from only moments ago. Hip-hop continually sets a precedent that it’s OK to treat women as objects; whether through their lyrics or their social media, rappers have made it clear that women are nothing more than a conquest. Lil B preaches love and positivity constantly, but he fails to see the potential harm he is doing by posting these photos.
I hope the hip-hop community can use this moment to acknowledge their social shortcomings and begin working to make hip-hop a safer and more inclusive community for women. Lil B has the opportunity to recognize what he is doing and use his influence to help hip-hop. Sadly being a rapper often comes with having a big ego, which gets in the way of self-awareness, something Lil B will need if he is to put this situation to rest and move forward.