1 June 2014 (Self Released)
By Joe DeBonis
Dreams are such a fickle thing. Most childhoods are filled with teachers, parents and mentors telling kids to keep their heads up, dream big and have ambitions as large as they can imagine because anything in the world is possible. When the real world starts to come crashing down though, around age 15 of 16, all those “wise words” of chasing dreams seem almost foolish. Life most of the time does not turn out like how those childhood goals would want and the words of those adults echo depressingly in children’s ears. Life can be a cruel mistress and dreams are often overlooked.
Enter Lil B and his brand new mixtape Hoop Life, a mixtape with a theme of chasing a near impossible dream even while critics and haters continually tell Lil B he won’t succeed. Maybe one of his most directed releases of his illustrious career, Lil B keeps a very consistent premise to his songs, talking about his dreams to make the NBA, his anger at being called insignificant by Kevin Durant and the fact that Lil B does not give two fucks what people think, he is going to try and make the NBA and do what is in his heart.
Tracks like “See Me In The Game,” “Hoop Life,” and “Pass The Ball” all talk almost exclusively about basketball and the Based God drops numerous NBA shout outs, references and lingo that is extremely relevant to basketball in general all over the mixtape. He proves that he knows what he is talking about when it comes to basketball and does not care that Kevin Durant won’t accept his challenge to play him one-on-one; he is going to continue to get better and better, just waiting for the respect he deserves. Lil B really has never had a release like this, with a constant theme appearing in his songs, so on Hoop Life it is refreshing to hear Lil B focus on something so close to his heart on multiple songs.
On the surface this mixtape may seem like it is about Lil B and his quest to make the NBA and make sure Kevin Durant stays cursed forever. But dig a little deeper, and this mixtape is Lil B’s attempt to add a real life example to his based preaching. Lil B spends his life preaching the meaning of living a based life, of doing what is in your heart, of being positive and above all loving everybody and everything. With this mixtape though, he is shining a little light onto Lil B’s own personal battles with making his own life based. Lil B’s dream to make the NBA is really a metaphor for life. He is telling people to never give up on life, to never stop dreaming and making sure their lives are the best they can be. Yes Lil B wants to make the NBA and loves basketball, but he is now using a focused model to show that everyone, even the Based God can have broken dreams and shitty things happen to them, but it doesn’t matter, you just have to keep fighting through, keep living life and doing all you can to make sure your life is the best it can be, no matter the circumstances.
On “Only Time I Slow Down,” Lil B says, “Hoop life is about love, it’s about getting people together and staying positive.” Really that’s the exact message the mixtape projects to the world. The Hoop Life mixtape is about love, it’s about making sure people stay strong and positive. Lil B just wants to motivate people and get people to stay on track, and above all stay dreaming because even when we finally become adults and our childhood dreams are lost, they are there somewhere and Lil B just wants people to remember those dreams and keep dreaming even when life gets to out of hand. Lil B is here to make sure we never give up, because those dreams we all had as kids are important and Lil B doesn’t want us to give up.
In the end, how can someone really not like Lil B? He may be silly sometimes, he may say some ridiculous things and he may not be the stereotypical rapper, but anyone that spends their career and life trying to make sure people stay positive in this sometimes cruel world, and love the world and everything about it, can’t be someone who doesn’t get attention paid to. Lil B is the future of rap and positivity in the world and Hoop Life is just his next step towards making his message a common anthem in this world.
Rating: Loved It