In a way only a Lil B concert could be discovered, I found myself racing through the streets of Northern Virginia, quickly and impatiently making my way to the Empire Nightclub. Thank Based God for Twitter, for if I hadn’t had that I would have never been able to make the elusive and #rare show. After seeing his shout out to Springfield, V.A. and a quick Google search, I called a buddy and went off.
I called the club to make sure there were tickets and to discover when the show would begin. Soon after, we arrived to find a mysterious door next to an Afghan restaurant. People had already been thrown out and a fight was about to break out. But when we cowered inside and heard the sound of The Based God’s voice it was as if all of our problems disappeared.
We ran inside to see Brandon McCarthy standing above 6-foot speakers yelling “SWAG” to an adrenaline-pumping beat. He was wearing a small wife beater, pants that were also too small for him, and he was already very sweaty. But it was him. That internet sensation that we had only dreamed of seeing. He would randomly do shows in Syracuse, N.Y. and Boston but would he ever come to the D.C. area? It was finally hitting us.
While there were a lot of people at the venue, it was definitely not “almost sold out,” as we had been told. There weren’t many people at the bar, but the main floor was packed with teenagers pretending to cook, yelling “swag” and rapping along to their favorite songs. But not everyone was rapping along to the same songs. Lil B’s vast catalog is difficult to keep tabs on, and his wide variety of song types causes a lot of semi-popular songs. Some people would join in on “Like a Martian,” others would rap along to his verse from “Vans,” while there were even a few who knew “I Love You.”
But what was definitely the best part of the show was Lil B’s interactions with the audience. After about 15 minutes, he called all girls on stage, in classic rapper fashion. I have been to many shows with more well-known rappers who have pulled the same stunt but had never seen girls react this way. They bum-rushed the stage, hoping to get a piece of the Based God. Like a Greek god raised upon a based podium, Lil B continued to cook (the dance), rap, and say positive things to his audience while a sea of adoring fans and women offering themselves to him watched in awe.
However, in an odd way, this seemed to grow old. Lil B started to forget the words to his own songs and everyone was already out of energy. The sweaty mass of people went from a hyped crowd to a seemingly patient crowd. As he started into his more…motivational songs, patience started to wear and everyone began to simmer down. The only thing that really kept us engaged was his sporadic promises of taking pictures with everyone after the show. Getting evidence of being with The Based God was worth wading through his catalog of songs.
Finally, he actually did it. He called everyone on stage. Soon enough, a swarm of people hopped the barrier between the stage and the pit and pushed together to get a picture, a signature, even to just touch Lil B. Security quickly removed the majority of the fans on the grounds that the stage was going to collapse. But, he stayed and walked around the edge of the stage signing shoes, phones and arms and taking pictures with as many fans as he could.
Overall, the show was an amazing experience, but a test at the same time. It was like being in a two hour Lil B music video, but not being able to speed through it. But, I think my interaction with Lil B at the end of the show sums up the show’s experience for me:
“Lil B, can I take a picture with you?”
“Of course you can!”
“Thanks Lil B.”
“No problem man, thanks for coming, I love you.”
“…I love you too Lil B.”