If you were to ask me, “which popular musician do you think best exemplifies the values we look for in our elected representatives?” rapper and twitter sensation Lil B would probably not be my first choice (why you would ever ask me this question in the first place, I don’t know; but if you catch me on the street I’ve got a long and detailed answer for you). And yet The Based God has set an example over the past year by doing the one thing we’ve been asking politicians to do for centuries: listening to the people.
Five years ago, Lil B released a song entitled “Bitch I’m Bill Clinton,” part of his “Red Flame” mixtape. After rapping about Bill Clinton’s alleged extramarital affairs for the bulk of the track, Lil B throws in an unexpected shoutout to Hillary at the end:
Shouts-out to Hillary Clinton.
You about to win that president shit.
You’re going to be president soon baby.
In his own way, Lil B was voicing his support for Clinton long before she had announced her presidential bid. But as Bernie Sanders gained traction as a presidential hopeful, Lil B re-evaluated. In July, he tweeted:
“As much as I want to a woman leading the USA, right now it’s all about Bernie @BernieSanders @SenSanders he’s the real he loves us – Lil B”
In an interview with CNN back in October, Lil B explained, “Once the people started telling me about Bernie Sanders and comparing what he was doing back in his younger days and what she was doing, it made me kind of look at her different — not really respect her as much as I thought.” In August, he told Politico: “The people that love me told me to support him [Sanders], so there must be something good in him, and something similar in how we go about things.” There it is, folks. The people told him, and he listened.
As a popular musician, Lil B has more in common with a prominent politician than you might think. He has a massive following, the ability to influence people’s opinions, and has even published a book. What’s more surprising is that, when it comes to maturity in argument, he seems to have a leg up on today’s representatives. On the Clinton v. Sanders issue, he voiced an opinion, listened to the responses of his supporters, and took it upon himself to get educated about the issue. Then, when he changed his mind, he admitted to it openly.
Whether you support Bernie or Hillary, Cruz or Trump, we can all agree on the intended role of a candidate: to represent the people and their interests. It’s a concept that’s faded into the background during this election (or perhaps long before it), but one that Lil B happens to have emulated perfectly. One of the most mature things you can do in this life is to be able to recognize when you’re wrong, and freely admit to it. It shows people that you value the truth more than your pride. By respecting his listeners and taking what they say seriously, Lil B embodies the type of maturity we’d like to see from this year’s presidential hopefuls. So, to those who have their sights set on the White House, do us all a favor and take a page from the Book of Based God.
Mandy Freebairn is a staff columnist for the Highlighter.