note: i posted this on tumblr earlier, but david wanted me to post it here as well. apologies to the three or four people who might be seeing this twice.
how come the human race isn’t progressing as fast as technology has?
yeah we’re gonna be staying on the moon, but there’s still gonna be racists
so in the end, are we really winning?
“the age of information” is basically stunning. obviously for a lot of people, lil b’s lack of filter is an unscalable wall from which they’ve long turned away— and it still very much clouds the sifting process for those of us who choose to wade into the crashing sea that is b’s mind— but it is, of course, what makes him what he is. we’re attracted to b at a base (no d) level because there is no artifice; he’s saying what he feels, in his own warped way, constantly and forever. but rarely, if ever, has his stream of consciousness crystallized the way it does on “the age of information”.
the first verse has a heavy gang starr vibe. it’s of course weird to hear b on a beat so radiant and warm, and he even pitches his voice down a bit to get that lived-in, 90s NY feel. the rhyme scheme here is predictably odd, with b rapping in an ostensibly “normal” fashion, but still with a near complete disregard for meter, and yet he still hits his rhymes in what could be called a flow, as jagged as it may be. b, always the square peg, has wiggled himself slightly into the round hole. he’s rapping about things that are universal to us all with a sort of innocence that has always bubbled under his music, but it’s with that innocence— and fearlessness— that he cuts through bullshit. here, he just cuts to the bone: “i’m on computers/ profusely/ searchin on the internet for answers/ give it to me”; “it’s like i’m married/ i’m watching the bloggers heavily”; “the truth is near me/ i’m hear it and i can feel it/ but are we dumbing down for technology and the cost of living?/ i just forget it, continually smoking heavily/ thinking about the melody/ thinking of what’s ahead of me”. there’s a resignation here, and certainly some level of paranoia (although b does smoke a lot), that i think we all feel, and the verse hits harder because there is the undercurrent of sadness, of probably yearning for an age that people b’s/my age can’t even remember. when he raps “cannabis residue is on my seats from breaking down again” it’s impossible to tell if he’s talking about rolling a blunt or not. but of course there is nothing we can do (“thinking about the melody/thinking of what’s ahead of me”), and in a way it is best to think positively about a rapidly changing world that we all must succumb too. i think that’s what the beat— so soothing and sunny— is echoing.
the second verse is more traditionally based in terms of rapping— in that he’s barely doing it— and it allows him even more freedom to spout these crystal clear, yet cracked, thoughts: “asking google about things i should learn about”; “they took away places/ where it’s only the forest”; “i’m jogging in peace/ i got my ipod slapping these beats”; “i’m on a mission to find peace and precision”; “i’m askin the older people/ how you make it to your status/ they laughin/ cause they see reflection while i’m askin questions”; “and the best gift is to learn math to count your blessings”; “even though we’re in space we still hate ourselves/ the age of information is hell”. this is heavy— and deeply stoned— shit, but the verse verbalizes a weight carried, in varying degrees, by all of us. and what makes it so compelling is that even though b is shooting so straight here, just cutting right through the static, his lucidity is still filtered through this prism of whatever it means to be “based.” the plain white light is a thought that is almost nearly universal, but what comes out— i.e. “they took away the places/ where it’s only the forest”— is something much weirder, and more distinct, than a rainbow.