So, Lil B made a song called “I Got AIDS.” He even made “GOT AIDS” a trending topic on Twitter. I don’t even know how to react. On one hand, there’s the carefree “Bitch Suck Dick” Lil B, and on the other is the super positive “Gon Be Okay” Lil B. He swerves recklessly between personas with an almost innocent, charming naivety, as if it’s the most natural thing in the world. Okay, the world is complex. Having conflicting ideologies in music isn’t anything new, so while Lil B may be an extreme case, we can deal.
When Lil B announced that he was naming his album I’m Gay, I seemed to be one of the few who supported the idea. In hip-hop, rebellion is hard to pull off, since most rappers are rebels in one way or another, and rebelling against being a rebel will get you stuck with that “conscious rapper” label with the quickness. Nobody wants that. Despite Fat Joe’s open-mindedness, homosexuality is still one of the most untouchable taboos in hip-hop. I’m Gay was a direct challenge to that–a move right out of the punk rock handbook, in a weird way.
But Lil B backed down from that direct challenge by annotating the album title, making it I’m Gay (I’m Happy). Now it just seemed childish. So how are we supposed to interpret this “I Got AIDS” song? Here’s my thought process:
1) On first seeing the title, I figured, “Here we go again.” Lil B probably says, “I Have AIDS” for the attention, but we’ll probably find out that AIDS now means “An Immaculate Diverse Style.” Gotcha! It’s the whole “I’m gay! Gay as in HAPPY!!” thing all over again.
2) After listening to the song, I realized it was much more literal–it was, in fact, a song about having AIDS. Maybe this was Lil B attacking another taboo, challenging the norms and going against the grain.
3) The message under Lil B’s YouTube upload reads:
PLEASE EVERYONE I MADE THIS TO INFORM EVERYONE THAT I LOVE AND RESPECT AND EVERYONE THAT LISTENS TO MY MUSIC AND LOVES BASED TO PLEASE GET TESTED AND PROTECT YOURSELF AND PARTNERS AND BE SAFE,
I WANT YOU TO NO IF YOU HAVE SEX YOU ARE AT RISK
PLEASE USE CONDOMS AND HAVE SAFE SEX,
PLEASE I LOVE YOU,
IF YOU CARE ABOUT ME UPLOAD A VIDEO OF YOU GOING TO GET TESTED AND SEND TO ME I WILL ALSO UPLOAD A VIDEO OF ME GETTING TESTED,
I LOVE YOU AND IF YOU ARE POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE NO YOU HAVE SUPPORT – Lil B
“If you care about me upload a video of you going to get tested”? I don’t see the connection between caring about Lil B and getting tested for AIDS, and assuming that people care more about Lil B than, say, their own health, is a little egotistical. But hey, it will probably work–I mean, this is a guy referred to as Based God. If that’s what it takes to make something positive happen, why not? No harm, no foul, right?
4) But what about intentions? Doesn’t that matter? Lil B’s manager probably thought of this whole AIDS thing. Just another way to get attention and get people talking. And the whole “upload a video and send them to me” just seems like bonus social media attention points. And I guess it’s working, because shit, here I am, overthinking a Lil B song that sounds like it took him 20 minutes to execute from concept to final product.
5) Then again, that’s Lil B’s style–the “based” rapper who says whatever comes to his mind, without giving it much thought. If AIDS awareness is on his mind and it gets people talking and persuades them to take action, it’s a good thing, right? Plus, what do you expect from a guy that is more meme than he is rapper?
6) No, no, if he really cared about AIDS awareness, he could try to actually do something about it–he could connect with a charity or at least put a little effort into the song. I mean, just listen to these lyrics: “Now I’m fucked, ’cause I had unprotected sex / Take it from me, go get tested, that’s your best bet / On top of that, I got herpes.”
7) An incredibly stupid song, a seemingly good cause, a possible scheme for attention, a lack of real effort, and an overall weird way to approach it that only makes a little bit of sense because it’s from Lil B. But the outcome will probably be positive. I don’t know what to think about “I GOT AIDS.” Thanks Based God, I guess.
What’s your take?