The Brief: Based is a term used to describe someone who is cool and confident. The term was appropriated by alt-right/nationalists in support of right-wing conservatives in social media forums.
In today’s popular culture, “based” is a term used to describe someone who has swag and is confident in who they are.
The term was appropriated by the alt-right in support of right-wing conservatives in social media forums.
The term “based” was actually derived from the term “basehead” which was used during the 1980s crack epidemic. It was used to refer to individuals who were addicted to freebasing cocaine, the base form of the drug which make it smokable.
In West Coast slang, based referred to someone who was a crackhead or acting like one. It was also used toward individuals who were eccentric or somewhat odd.
The term took on a new life after it was adapted by rapper Lil B in the 2000s. He became known for his wacky and quirky demeanor which lead fans to call him based. In 2007, his group, The Pack, released their debut album, Based Boys and by 2011 the term was officially part of his brand. He became known as Lil B “The Based God.”
In a 2010 Complex magazine interview, Lil B described his new definition of based as, “Being yourself. Not being scared of what people think about you. Not being afraid to do what you wanna do.”
In the hip-hop community the term also came to describe individuals who are confident, cool, powerful, and have swag.
SEND ME YOUR $ CASH APP LINK!! I WANT TO SEND YOU SOME MONEY TO INVEST IN THE STOCK MARKET OR CRYPTO CURRENCY WITH!!!! TELL ME WHO YOU INVEST IN AFTER I SEND IT TO YOU VIA MESSAGE OR DM!! – Lil B
— Lil B THE BASEDGOD (@LILBTHEBASEDGOD) January 28, 2021
Based is also a term that is part of the gaming community. As described by Dictionary.com, the term was picked up by the alt-right/white nationalist community online in the 2010s. During 2014’s Gamergate, a harassment campaign against women and other marginalized gaming journalists. This movement was also closely linked to conversations around misogyny. Conservative commentator Christina Hoff Sommers was referred to as Based Mom once she pushing back against claims that video game culture is sexist. Since then, referring to alt-right or right-wing conservative figures as based has become a sign of approval in online social-media forums like the pro-Trump subreddit, r/The_Donald.
Another definition for based is one referring to the quality of having an opinion without regard for what other people think, often a controversial opinion but not always. The meme below refers to Bernie Sanders as based considering his radical political views.