The rap landscape of today would not be the same without Lil B. From his humble beginnings as a member of The Pack to his current standing – channeling the benevolent BasedGod through rapping, producing, lecturing at universities, endorsing politicians like Bernie Sanders, and discussing complex issues of race in America on social media – he has become a dominating cultural force.
Musically, he’s influenced everyone from Lil Uzi Vert to Young Thug to Tyler, the Creator. He’s even dropped some based freestyles with Chance the Rapper. Basically, he’s adored by all your favorite rappers and then some. There is no one quite like him, and whether he’s rapping about Ellen Degeneres, won ton soup, Katy Perry, or how much he loves you, he does it with an undeniable yet indescribable based flair.
Long before Young Thug appeared in a ruffled dress on the cover of his 2016 album Jeffery, Lil B was subverting the hip-hop patriarchy with extremely skinny jeans, floral blazers, and chandelier earrings. His appearances on ESPN have been nothing short of legendary, adding a femme touch to one of the most macho places on earth. And we haven’t even mentioned the pink bandana, a staple of his Task Force. We took a look back at Lil B’s most influential ensembles, in case you need a reminder that he’s a veritable style icon.
This radical reinvention of bling
In an era in which Migos are rocking Spongebob round their necks and Lil Uzi Vert is entering the territory of chokers, wild bling can be found just about everywhere. Yet in 2010, it was pretty radical to see Lil B bedecked in this set of chains, some of which look like they were created in a preschooler’s arts and crafts class. But as he so accurately describes in the title of the video, this is what “LEGENDARY BASEDGOD JEWELRY” looks like.
This candy-striped housewife look
Bold doesn’t even begin to describe B’s look in the lo-fi clip for his song “Ima Eat Her A$$.” A standard pair of jeans gives way to the kind of blazer one only finds in the window display of a Goodwill store: a pastel, candy-striped number that comes with a stitched-in flower on its breast pocket. This is of course paired with a navy-striped bonnet, with the whole look finished off with Christmas-ornament earrings and a set of gems bedazzled to his forehead. The latter would be mildly appropriative of Indian culture if it even remotely resembled a bindi, but it does not, at all.
His legendary, iconic pink bandana
Lil B took an accessory synonymous with gangs to cleverly form his own clan with a distinctive aesthetic. All you need is a pink bandana and you’re a member of The BasedGod’s Task Force. Taking a color traditionally associated with femininity, making it the focal point of your own look and getting your fans to do the same all under the message of spreading love and staying based and positive is both wholesome and genius.
This Golden Girls floral blazer
The fashion timeline of The BasedGod is one riddled with one floral blazer after another, and yet there is something about the piece he rocks in the video for “I’m Tupac” that sets it apart from the rest. Perhaps it’s because he’s rarely rocked something with such stunning shoulder pads – a rigid structure that gives way to beautifully-draped sleeves. Or perhaps it’s because it looks like it was pulled right from the set of The Golden Girls, kickstarting even more granny-fied looks to come. Regardless, it’s an essential item.
Everything about this look for his MIT lecture
MIT is among the most revered institutions of education in the United States, playing host to guest speakers like President Bill Clinton and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Which makes Lil B’s attendance not only remarkable in itself, but a piece of pure inspiration seeing that he arrived in faded denim tied just above his kneecaps, plaid boxer shorts and an autumnal-shaded, embroidered floral jacket with no shirt underneath. We have no way of knowing for sure, but hey may just be the only lecturer in their history to go sans top.
His Boho beach granny ensemble for ESPN
Appearing in a typically macho environment in a nonchalant, incredibly soft femme look is far more subversive than Lil B would probably give himself credit for. In a floppy church hat, stunning chandelier earrings, and an elegant white transparent blouse, B dropped jaws and set the internet aflame with his appearance on ESPN, where he discussed The BasedGod’s infamous curses on basketball players like Kevin Durant.
His return to ESPN on a throne wearing lace
For another appearance on ESPN’s Sports Nation, Lil B made a grand entrance on a throne carried by three men, while one of the show’s co-hosts chanted and tossed rose petals. This time around, The BasedGod builds from his iconic wide-brimmed hat and drop earring look with a delicate lace shirt layered over a striped shirt. Once again, the Bay Area rapper keeps his look based and positive with a touch of femme, in an ensemble that is equal parts Indiana Jones and Miss Havisham.
His recent look at the 2017 MTV VMAs
“This is couture 101, the whole outfit,” Lil B said of his sumptuous green velvet ensemble worn at this year’s MTV VMAs. Dressed head to toe in Vivienne Westwood, BasedGod combined 2017 with 1617 in a ruff-collared shirt and ornately embroidered jacket paired with slim-fitting lace-up punk pants dripping with chains and elegant upturned toe slippers. Yet again, Black Ken reminds us that he’s been constantly redefining what it means to be a male rapper since day one.
For more like this, take a look at 10 current fashion trends Kurt Cobain did first here.
- Cover Image: MTV
- Text: Jake Boyer & Bianca Giulione