If you’ve listened to every single track from Lil’ B’s last couple mixtapes, bless your soul. The most recent projects that the Berkley rapper has dropped include 05 Fuck Em (101 songs), Basedworld Paradise (31 songs), and now Hoop Life (33 songs). It’s not that all the songs are bad, but even 30 songs is a bit much, let alone 100.
Hoop Life comes on the heels of OKC’s loss to the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Western Conference Finals. Perhaps you’ve heard of the beef between Kevin Durant and BasedGod, which started in 2011 when Durant dissed Lil’ B on Twitter and culminated in the BasedGod’s curse over KD that guarantees OKC will never win an NBA championship. You don’t have to believe in mysticism—looks like Durant will be spending another year at home watching the finals, though.
So to celebrate the release of Lil’ B’s new mixtape, we’ve gone through every song and chosen the five best tracks. Brandon is a one-of-a-kind artist and if you take the time to sift through his collections, you can come away with gold. But not everyone has the time (or the patience) to sit through a two-hour mixtape, so read on for the five best songs from Lil’ B’s new Hoop Life mixtape.
5. “Hall of Fame”
The entire tape revolves around the theme of basketball, and on “Hall of Fame” Lil’ B has visions of success as he high-fives fans and waits to get drafted. He brings you into the gym as he talks about late-night practice with his chest hurting. He even drops a jewel in the middle: “Wise man say you die when you stop believing.” This is for everybody with a dream, striving toward your goals with heartache and hope.
4. “Good Day”
BasedGod deals in positivity, and “Good Day” is a plead to those mired in depression. It addresses suicide as he contemplates taking pills, and he even says we should be happy when people die—”Embrace death and be happy when they died / probably at peace in the sunshine.”
You can take everybody’s word about Lil’ B being a bad rapper, or you can think for yourself and listen to “Good Day” closely. You might end up appreciating lines like, “Coach said if I keep slipping, he gon’ bench me/I’m thinking to myself how you gon’ stop history?”
3. “Don’t Go Outside”
Throughout Hoop Life you can hear the influence of snap, jerk and DJ Mustard; “Don’t Go Outside” is one of the best examples. Whining synths, skittering hi-hats and an interstellar bass line surround Lil’ B as he does life in a mansion with bad bitches dancing around him. He even reaches across the aisle to break down the perception of underground rap—”I don’t gotta play games, I’m not the best actor/Just because you a nerd don’t mean you a backpacker/This is backpack rap with the dope in it/This that underground rap with the coke in it.”
2. “Real Based”
Over a riding Tracy Chapman sample, Lil’ B asks, “Is hip-hop dead? Na, it’s misled.” He shouts out Droop-E and Issue, He downplays guns, preferring to slap you in a one-on-one like Craig’s pops. People that don’t take the time to listen to Brandon’s music would probably never expect something like this from him, but that’s what they get for assuming without investigating.
1. “Scoutts Report”
Whether or not you’re included in the demographic, Lil’ B speaks to an entire generation of kids. Songs like “Scoutts Report” showcase how he does it. “How you gon’ get back/My niggas in the hood get shot just for bein’ black/This was all planned, this was not a coincidence/Born into a place nobody want me livin’ in.” How can you not feel the emotion of that insight? Elsewhere he admits to being hostile and wonders what his problem is. He’s a guy committed to questioning his own life. Shit, even Aristotle would rock with that.
Bonus: “Fuck KD (Kevin Durant Diss)”
Say it loud.