Bay Area rapper Lil Bean came up in a supportive and closely knit rap scene, striking out in a big way regionally before gaining national attention. Funneling his lived experiences into clean, melodic songs, Lil Bean's music captured the pain, loss, and excitement of growing up in challenging surroundings, with projects like 2020 mixtape 4THECULTURE highlighting his emotionally resonant delivery and storytelling lyricism.
Lil Bean was raised in San Francisco's Geneva Towers housing project, surrounded at an early age by the sound of his father's records. In 2019, after absorbing the influence of that music collection -- which included Bay Area rappers like Mac Dre and Messy Mike -- the shy and retiring Lil Bean reluctantly began making music of his own, encouraged by friends who had been impressed by his freestyle skills. He had a regional hit with early track "Side of Me," made in collaboration with fellow Bay Area rapper ZayBang and released on his 2019 mixtape NastyCampaign. This song put Lil Bean on the map, and he quickly followed with tracks like "Down 2 Ride" and mixtapes such as HoodHero and Hood Chronicles. His streaming numbers soon got into the millions, with new songs, videos, and releases arriving frequently.
2020's Campaign 2 included appearances from E-40 and 23Peezy, and throughout the year, Lil Bean collaborated with Shoreline Mafia, Sage the Gemini, SOB x RBE, and others. Before the year was over, he issued The Label, a mixtape made with ZayBang, as well as the shorter project 4THECULTURE. Lil Bean started off 2021 with the February release of the track "Jeff Hardy" with ShooterGang Kony, and returned later in the month with "Vital." [Fred Thomas]