Listen: Lil B x Chance The Rapper - Free (Based Style Mixtape)
What happens when a living internet meme and the nicest guy in rap team up? Magic, that’s what.
You can admit it now; Surf was a bit of a disappointment, wasn’t it? After the huge build up, Chance The Rapper’s side project, Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment’s debut album felt more like a series of unrealised demos and one outstanding track than the second coming. Which is a real shame because it seemed like a rare misstep in what’s been a series of home runs for the Chicago rapper since his free Acid Rap mixtape back in 2013.
Lil B on the other hand has always been the self-appointed spirit animal of the internet’s paradoxically disaffected, yet perennially outraged share-all youth. His Twitter flits between uplifting motivational affirmations and too much information about his penis size and where he puts it. But everything about his life from his foot fetish to his beef with (and subsequent curses on) various NBA players tends to overshadow his musical output, which enjoys a niche but ferocious fanbase.
It’s not a shock that two rappers who made their names on the internet would team up; but the sudden release of this six track collaborative mixtape and it’s indisputable excellence comes as a surprise.
“By this point you might be confused as to what we are doing. We’re making an entire piece of content from scratch,” Chance says on What’s Next. “The best things in life come from nothing and become something different.” According to the pair, the mixtape is largely improv, which seems obvious at times, with charming fuck ups and requests to extend the beats left on the tracks for all to hear. But then the raps and interplay are so tight you can’t help but be sceptical in the best way possible about partnership this strong off the cuff.
On standout First Mixtape, Lil B shouts out to various peers and Chance calls this a “first mixtape, not a mistake, not a diss tape.” It’s refreshing in this current climate of ridiculous rap beef to hear two lovable figures in the scene throwing all that shit aside and making odes to feeling superb and not overthinking things. There’s a lot of variation on this thing, and between the downtempo Amen and trap bravado of We Rare, Lil B and Chance The Rapper nail almost everything here.