You want a foolproof way to make a fun and positive project? Put Lil B and Chance the Rapper, two of the most absurdly positive dudes in music, together for a mixtape of just freestyles. While the images of these guys is mostly of the fame, I’ve admired both Lil B and Chance for quite some time now because they both make great music, albeit with very different aesthetics and sounds. However, while musically, these two come from different lanes, they are unified by their uplifting nature, and how goddamn ‘based’ they really are. So naturally, here they gather for a completely improvised, short tape, and it totally delivers.

Obviously, this isn’t “To Pimp a Butterfly” or “Summertime ’06”, but for what it is, “Free” is a great project. You get what you expect in spades, and that is good vibes, positive energy, and lots of funny moments coming from the fact that they are going straight off the dome for probably 95% of this tape, but also these guys have great chemistry together. They really just feel like two friends who got into the studio to just have a great time, and though this doesn’t result in anything super thought provoking or anything, it does result in a lot of great moments. When Chance runs out of ideas, Lil B will jump in at the perfect time, and vice versa, and you can audibly hear them laughing with each other throughout the tape. During interludes in the songs, between verses, and during the outros, they’ll heap praise on each other, like when Lil B calls Chance a “legend”. It’s just really fun to listen to, and the positive energy is infectious. Surprisingly though, the songs somehow work as real songs, even though just about nothing was pre-written for this project, which leads me to the beats. Track for track, the production is melodic, joyous, and memorable, especially on “First Mixtape BASED FREESTYLE”, on which the boards are manned by Gigglebox, and the beat contains these loud, jubilant drums, and what sounds like flute sampled from a Paul Weiner song. Whatever it is, it’s a super catchy and happy melody, and provides the perfect canvas for The Based God and Chance’s rhymes, and do all of the beats here. Some sound like something that would land on a tape like “05 Fuck Em”, like “Do My Dance BASED FREESTYLE”, and some actually bang really hard, like on the closing track, “We Rare BASED FREESTYLE”. This last track might be the most composed song here, and whether it was totally off top is up for debate, but it features a killer hook Chance, who drops the killer sentiment,

“Outta thin air, I made it to a new thang!
Pull up in that Bruce Wayne!”

And of course, Lil B is blessing the hook with his signature “woop” ad-lib, and it just sounds awesome.

Track for track, “Free” is a great tape that delivers on what you would expect from a collaboration between these guys: positivist, some good laughs, and tons of good vibes, but is elevated by the great chemistry they have together, and the killer production. It won’t blow you away, as there is only so much a 6 track mixtape of freestyles from dudes who aren’t exactly King Los off the top can give you, but for what it is, “Free (The Based Freestyle Mixtape)” is wonderful.

4 stars

Standout Tracks: “First Mixtape BASED FREESTYLE” “Amen BASED FREESTYLE” Do my Dance BASED FREESTYLE” “We Rare BASED FREESTYLE”

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