Words and interview by Puja Patel. Originally appeared on MTVDesi.
“I love you and your family!” “Respect each other!” “Girls are beautiful! Appreciate them and stay blessed!” Such are sentiments that commonly roll out of Bay Area rapper Lil B’s Twitter feed. With over 750,000 followers, his enthusiastic messages of peace, love, and understanding are far-reaching. Better known as the self-titled Based God, Lil B’s rap career is prolific and all encompassing with hundreds of songs spanning topics from pop detritus, cooking (ie. his dance by the same name) and, of course, girls.
And, boy, does the Based God love girls. So much so that Lil B’s combined Internet prowess and lady-lovin’ nature brings us to #GirlTime; the rapper’s dedicated and ongoing tribute to e-generation girls and their selfies. This is how it goes: Lil B puts out a call for the beginning of #GirlTime with the day’s theme (most popularly #faceandfeet) and girls tweet him photos that he then retweets to promote “positive self-image, beauty, and respect for women” in his own words. The result has turned #GirlTime into Lil B’s newest Internet phenomenon, garnering massive e-support while turning Lil B’s rare, positive message into one that promotes self-empowerment and, ahem, Lil B.
We talked to the Based God about traveling, the origins of Girl Time, Indian girls, dating advice, and his forthcoming indie-rock album.
Hey Lil B, where are you today?
I just got back from a trip all over the world. I was doing shows all over the place and just got back home a few days ago.
What was your favorite part of traveling?
I definitely tried to experience the local experiences; just kind of going around a city to try to feel the vibe of the place. I really liked the food and water all over the world. I liked the water in the Netherlands a lot. I liked the attitude of the people in Japan; everyone was very courteous and respectful and very expressive about liking my music. Australia was beautiful. Every place was amazing, I can’t just talk about one.
I read your Wendy Davis piece for Rolling Stone. Do you follow politics?
I heard about her through my friend who was following her and watching the livestream. I really appreciate that she was trying to get things rolling to keep from letting that bill pass. It’s great to be able to stand up and be behind things and support things you care about in an actual way. I support love, respect, being born free, and living their life how they want to. That’s why I support Wendy Davis.
How did Girl Time start?
This is something I wanted to do to appreciate girls. I have a lot of beautiful girls that like my music. Or to just respect them. I just wanted to respect the beautiful girls from all different places, all different body shapes and sizes. We were just talking about Wendy Davis, right? GirlTime is also about building a support system for women. A lot of girls send me messages and this way they can find other girls that share their feelings on whatever they’re going through and build a support system. It’s really about building confidence too. The Internet has so many cool people, so many weird people, sometimes losers who say mean things. This is about trying to make people happy with themselves and each other and that’s all.
Are there rules to Girl Time?
I’ve written them out on the official Girl Time twitter at @GirlTimeUSA. You know, really, it’s just that the girls who post Girl Time pictures keep it Girl Time only and send pictures using the #GirlTime hashtag. They have to have a positive attitude. The only rule is that you have to be positive. The girls who I follow with the official Twitter account, I ask that they only post photos to Girl Time because then they can be representatives and move the message forward and spread love.
I’ve read the chains between some of the girls you’ve retweeted and it seems like a bunch have become friends.
That’s what it’s all about. I’ve had girls tell me they’ve met their new best friend because of talking through a Girl Time hashtag. There are a lot of girls thanked me.
How do you deal with negative responses to Girl Time?
It hurts me. It upsets me to see the negativity. This is the Earth we live in. People are negative for no reason. It’s kind of a “Welcome to America” when you try to do something positive for yourself and the Internet needlessly tells you that you’re ugly or something. The positive outweighs the negative by a lot. We can talk about the few Girl Time haters that might hate every time. There’s so much love.
This is an intense story for me, but one girl recently tweeted about her story and it meant a lot to me. When her mother passed away when she was about 9, it took her a few years to deal with that. And then she posted a picture of her mother to Girl Time to show how beautiful she was to her. And it felt really special for her that her mother’s photo spread and she could tell her story to other, supportive girls because she knew that it was a place where she could do it.
Tell me about your favorite Girl Time theme #faceandfeet. It seems like it means that you want a full body shot. Some of my friends think you want to see who can contortion so their photos have only face and feet in them.
Oh man, that’s hilarious! Yeah, it means that I want a full picture of the person. It’s not meant to be sexy, though a lot of these girls are very sexy and beautiful. It is more about telling girls that they can feel comfortable in their body and shouldn’t be nervous about what they look like to the world. So many girls only post face photos because they think they’re too large or too small or don’t have perfect body features. We want everyone to be comfortable no matter how they look and see that everyone looks different and that is beautiful.
How do you get followed by @GirlTimeUSA?
It’s pretty rare. It’s about some girls who have really seriously supported Girl Time and have tagged their pictures not only with Girl Time but also to me. And when girls do this a lot I go through their profile and see whether they’re a good fit to represent Girl Time. I look to see if they are supportive to their friends and have a really positive attitude and don’t attack anyone on how they look or what they believe in. They’re not bashful and they’re not mean. It’s a special type of thing. They’re leaders.
I have a story I’m working on for Girl Time right now. It’s this girl who tweeted a lot to Girl Time and I learned that she’s been working to donate hair to make wigs for cancer patients and people who are sick and can’t afford them and feel that they may not be beautiful as a result. She knows they’re already beautiful and wants them to feel beautiful, you know? So, every year my goal is to have a new cause for Girl Time lead by one of the girls who is a part of it. I also just like looking at girls, but there’s more to it. Like friendship.
Do you think it’s harder to make real friends in the age of the Internet?
Being in entertainment and being famous, it will always be hard to make friends for me. It’s hard to tell the difference between people who want to work with you and people who want to be your friend in real life. It’s hard but it’s something that you give up for the fame. People sell out for everything so it’s important to balance.
Do you have a girlfriend?
[Laughs.] Oh yeah, you wanna know that. I’m behind Girl Time 100 percent so know that I’m a big supporter of Girl Time even if I have a girlfriend. I support it all day. Am I dating? Um. Not right now. I’m looking out. I’ve been so off the market for so long; not having a girlfriend or actually dating. I haven’t had intercourse with a woman in so long. Like a year.
Is it okay to ask personal questions?
No, no, it’s okay. I’m just thinking. I’d really like to find an Indian girl.
So, you know that I’m Indian?
What?! No way! You’re Indian?! I didn’t know. I swear I didn’t know. That was just a thing that I was thinking that I’m looking for. That’s so funny.
Why do you want to date an Indian girl?
I just have love for Indian girls. I love the Desi fashion and the Bollywood fashion. You know they call me Bollywood Based God. They have some beautiful Indian girls in this world and they are all very positive and kind.
Can you handle their food though? It’s less kind sometimes.
[Laughs.] You know, yeah. It’s a little creamy for me. It’s all good though. I was laughing earlier because – and sorry this isn’t politically correct – but the curries and the chicken is good but it messes with the stomach. It messes with the tummy a little bit. Doesn’t feel great all the time. [Laughs.] So I might need to have a backup on the food but we all do. I’ve opened up a lot more to new foods because of this trip. In Malaysia and in Pakistan I tried new some new things.
Did you ever feel uncomfortable traveling being an outsider or of a different race?
When I first went on this trip I was feeling just as uncomfortable being in America, you know? It’s all good now. I don’t feel uncomfortable by anything now. It’s important to remember that people aren’t praying to hate and that they are born to love.
I saw you tweeting about how the word “biracial” shouldn’t exist because you shouldn’t have to qualify why you look how you look. I actually love that this came up because I wanted to ask you if you had any advice for interracial dating between teens with traditional or conservative friends or families.
Oh man, I’m going to get in trouble. Well you know for kids it’s so crazy these days because they look and act like adults when they’re 14 or 15 sometimes. So how can you tell these kids how to date when some of them are more advanced than their parents? I would just tell them to try to show their core as honestly as possible. Everyone should make sure they share they core first and openly and try to see if everyone has the same core values and morals. I’m always trying to see where everyone’s morals is at. It’s a huge step to meet someone you care about’s parents or friends and it’s something that’s very important to do too. Secrets hurt and so the key is to not think too much about it and just let you be yourself and let them do the same.
Are you close with your parents?
I definitely am. My dad is out in San Francisco. I’m definitely close to my mother and I’m working towards being closer with my dad. My mom and him had problems when I was younger. It had nothing to do with him being a bad dad. My mom and I talk and laugh and reminisce about the past. We are good friends.
On to music: Have you listened to the new Kanye album?
No, I haven’t yet. I wanted to listen to it at a special time; on my own time by myself.
What’s the difference between a Based God and a Yeezus?
The difference is that Kanye says “I am a God” and I say “I am God.” I have a mixtape that says I am God. That’s the difference right there; you get straight to the point with me. There’s no beating around the bush. That’s kind of me, right there. True respect to Kanye. True respect to Jay-Z for going platinum. I want ’Ye to show me himself personally. I hold them both in a very special place and so I want to listen to their albums when I’m in a special place.
Tell me about the album you’re working on?
I’m working on my first rock album. It’s my official first album. I don’t have a date set for the release yet but I have my official album title that I’m keeping private. I know my rock album that has “California Boy” on it is going to be set for January 2014. It’s going to be really important for me and for music fans; very different. It’ll become an indie rock classic for sure. It’s just amazing. I can’t tell you what it’s going to sound like besides that it’ll be amazing.