The latest twist in the, um, unusual career of Lil B is his unlikely metamorphosis into a based rock god. The rapper unveiled his new guitar-toting incarnation earlier this week with the video to a new song called “California Boy,” in which he wanders around Guitar Center in LA and confesses his love for a terrified-looking passing lady. We have to be honest here: the song’s pretty terrible, making it the latest in a long line of ill-advised rap/rock crossover ventures. Not every rapper deciding to make a rock song/album has met with disaster, but plenty of them have — so we thought we’d make a handy primer of which such ventures to investigate, and which to avoid like threatening rabid animals.
It’s easy to forget just what an impact Body Count made when they blasted into the public consciousness in 1992. At the time, the most controversial things in music were rap, metal, and songs about doing nasty things to police officers — and, in a stroke of genius, “Cop Killer” managed to combine all three into one track, thereby ensuring instant notoriety and much hand-wringing from the likes of the PMRC and Charlton “Guns Don’t Kill People, People With Guns Do” Heston. Twenty years later, the song retains its power to shock.