After Lil B’s 80-minute, unscripted lecture at NYU last night, I returned home in a mania and did what seemed the most logical thing: transcribed it all. There’s just something fitting about committing the Based God’s words to text. What follows is a complete record of the night, from his suggestion to look at people like “golden, million-dollar babies” to his experiences with ants in the kitchen, his recommendations to wash your hands and wear seat belts, his fear of insulting Mitt Romney and his excitement about paying taxes. There are no words to convey this experience but Lil B’s own.
Man. I love y’all, man. I hope this table don’t fall and everything stays smooth. First off, NYU I want to say I love you. And thank each and every one of you, every beautiful person in the building, every legend, every historical human being. You know, every future legend in the building, man. I’m in the building with the future. Y’all going to be helping me when things get hard for me. That’s what I hope. I hope everybody leaves this conversation together feeling like family. This is not everybody listening to me, this is everybody is a part of it. If you feel compelled to say something in your heart, please do, because at the end of the day we all have something to teach, and we all have something to say.
I want to come to this with a story that I feel symbolizes everybody in the building. This happened to me two days ago. I’m going to the gas station and this older guy—he looks like he’s about 70. Me generalizing and stereotyping, I asked him, “Yo, excuse me sir, how you doing? What has changed for you in the last years? From like when you was younger until now?” And he was like, “You really wanna know?” And I was like, “Yes, sir, I really want to know.” And he was like, “You know what has changed?” And he was like, “Your attitude.” And that was deep, bro! That was deep! I feel that represents us all of us today.
I thank y’all for not judging me and being able to respect us being humans. That’s what we should all be able to do. I specialize in love. A lot of people wonder, the small majority who don’t understand wonder why Lil B would be here. But you know, it’s good. I love to spread love, you know. That’s what I’m here to do.
This is the big thing I want to speak on to set the tone: Nobody in this building asked to be born. You didn’t ask to be you, bro. I didn’t ask to be me. I didn’t ask to have this skin. I didn’t ask to be who I was, bro. Nobody in here asked that. The beautiful people? Your beautiful parents made you, bro. You didn’t ask for that. You didn’t ask to live where you live or anything. So when you see people, forgive them and accept, you feel me? You gotta open your mind and say, man, nobody asked to be born. Life is hard, kinda.
Ay, bruh, I love you positively. I love all y’all. With relationships and women and being together and everybody, man, it’s just like… It’s just real. I’m just happy you guys are getting the real me. No pen, no pad. I didn’t script a speech. I come here and all I can do is be myself and spread love. But with relationships and stuff man, I’m just taking it slow. Taking it easy. A lot of things are happening real fast and I’m just taking my time and respecting women, respecting others. I mean, but that’s obvious, though. To respect women is obvious, yo.
And a big thing I’ve been thinking about is the tone with a lot of people I meet and the media, I see it’s a lot of: If you get hit, you hit back. Why is that? Real recognize real, bro. You get blessed out of situations. I did that situation because I wanted the world to see that you can have a million stones thrown at you and you can still be positive. You know, that was kind of embarrassing. I had a lot of hood credibility [makes quotation marks in the air]. I had a lot of imaginary hood respect. But you know, at the end of the day, it’s no respect in being violent or a coward for no reason. It’s no honor in picking on people. It’s no honor in senseless violence. It’s no honor in war.
But at the end of the day, I look at animals and insects. You know I’m the first rapper to adopt a tabby cat. You know I adopted straight from the ASPCA, you feel me? Just breaking the boundaries, man, showing everybody it’s okay to be yourself. Embrace yourself. Embrace your health. Ayyy! Just continue to love yourself and accept.
I can’t lie, when I was younger I loved the media. I believed the media. I can say I was a product of my environment. You know, you grow up. I remember when I was younger, I didn’t know how to walk. I was so young, I was wondering how I was walking. Am I walking weird? Something’s in my butt? You know what I mean? But really so conscious, though. So hard on myself. And I say through time and love it’s just easing up on yourself, easing up on life.
It’s a lot of words people have given so much power. When I mean things to be specific, it’s that tone of you hit me I hit you. That’s not right. The new generation as I see it, how I hold my integrity, why I conduct myself in the way I do—people see me and they say, “He didn’t retaliate or taunt that man, and he could have.” There are people that love me. People were upset. But just because somebody wants to fight you for no reason, or because somebody says something to you, you can forgive that person. I’d be that guy’s friend. You’ve gotta move on and be positive. We’re way past dwelling. I spread that love. Keep it and don’t be hard on yourself with anything, how you look to your weight to wanting to complete what your parents want you to be. Don’t stress so hard. Pat yourself on the back. You’re at NYU. Congratulations. What you guys are doing is very brave. Everybody that is going through school, you’ve made a huge sacrifice. All the staff, all the beautiful students, everybody that’s here to teach. Shouts out to everybody that’s here for learning and love and trying to find their way. I mean, shit. I mean, shoot. We’re all trying to find our way. I want to thank you for embracing and accepting me, like really. I love you.
I want to show: have friends of all creeds, all colors, all races. Stop saying, black, white, this, that—we’re all human. Now I don’t know everything. This is my philosophy. But I feel like things are just generalizations. Drop all that. Stop giving negative words so much power. Instead of saying, “Hey, look at him, he’s black,” just say, “Hey, where are you from? What is your nationality?” Just take two seconds instead of generalizing, because, I promise you, I looked up what black means online, and black means something like coal, you feel me?
We all got problems too, bro, real talk. We all can have something that we can relate to. Make sure you can relate and have a common. And if you do feel too different, make sure you respect the people. Give people a chance to come in your heart. I know why a lot of people don’t trust people. You know why? There’s a lot of mean, bad people out here. A lot of people don’t have a value on their own life. They don’t have a value on how blessed we are to be alive. Our generation right here, we’re on a class of earth together. This is our class. All of us are going to be like, “Hey, remember 20 years ago when we did that?” Don’t be hard on each other. Let your friends have fun. Work hard and do what you do because we’ve only got one life to live. That is scary, you know. It’s scary and it’s really real, it’s really true. It just makes me appreciate people. Appreciate every single person. Look at them like a golden, million-dollar baby. Ay, bruh, I’ma tell you the real secrets of life, bruh. Ay, bruh, feel me, bruh, I got the real secrets. For real, bro. For real. Real talk: the secrets of life? Look at everybody like they’re a baby. Remember like, man, we’re young. Don’t be so hard on people. We’re just little baby insects or mammals or whatever. You feel me?
I tell you, bruh, I was looking at insects. I do my observations when I go out. If I become a neurosurgeon or I’m about to come into some bugs, I’m rocking. With the bugs, man, you just be looking at them. Because I was having these big ant problems in my house. It was crazy. And these are people in their own way, too. As I was studying these ant colonies infesting my house daily, I’m not kidding you, I left food out and 20 minutes later r-r-r-r-r and I’m like, man, they already know! They get it down pat! And real talk, like, seeing these ants and studying them and respecting them, it’s like, man, they’re in their own community too. They’re trying to survive. They love. They fight. They telling themselves something. We can’t understand, but one day we will. I’m trying hard to figure it out. I’m there with them. We’re very smart animals, you know, or whatever we are. Organisms? What are we? What do y’all think we are? Is there like a fact? Does anybody have any proof what we are? Live that life, experience it, travel, and come up with your theories man. Read the books, too, but experience your own. It’s crazy.
Some of the things I think about on the daily: I just want my people to be safe. [Audience member: "What you think about, bro?!"] Safety, man. And real talk, everybody make sure you wear seat belts, for real.