Rapper Lil Dicky is being hailed as a marketing with wiz, thanks to the debut of his independently released album Professional Rapper.
But is Lil Dicky ultimately doing more harm than good by weaving stereotypical themes about race into his raps, or is it just all about the comedy?
Lil Dicky carved his lane in Hip-Hop through his comedic rap style. Behind the witty lines, jokes about his Jewish faith, and white privilege, is David Burd, Lil Dicky’s real name. Burd launched his career at San Francisco ad agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners, where he worked shortly after graduating from the University of Richmond.
A rap video Burd made for Frito-Lay landed him a job in the agency’s creative department, and it was there Burd spent a year writing commercials and transformed into his rap alias, Lil Dicky.
“I don’t necessarily think that when I graduated college, I had a plan to work at an ad agency,” Lil Dicky told Fast Company. “I had a plan in terms of getting the best job I could, like just whatever normal job. But I think deep down I always knew that I had to make some sort of attempt at being an entertainer.”
Working for the ad agency taught Lil Dicky how to market and promote his projects that paid off big time. His self-released album Professional Rapper hit #1 Billboard’s Comedy and Rap charts after it was released last July.
With racial tensions escalating on campuses around the country, could Lil Dicky be crossing the line with songs like “$ave Dat Money” and ” Jewish Flow” which features the hook:
Lil Dicky spit that Jewish flow/Sicker than the Holocaust/Dat mutha fuckin Jewish flow/That Auschwitz sick, gas chamber kinda shit/Now I got german bitches all up on my dick
“Lil Dicky is exploiting his Jewish heritage for satire. “$ave Dat Money” is a direct appeal to the stereotype of Jews being cheap and petty about money,” snapped Michigan Daily’s Arts Writer Ken Selander.
Selander pointed out Lil Dicky’s sly marketing tactics for “$ave Dat Money,” which featured Fetty Wap and Rich Homie Quan. He also shot the video with no budget on purpose to chastise other rappers and their spending habits.
“The concept of making a rap music video for as little as possible is comical, too, but the fact that this endeavor is qualified as a product of his Jewishness is what ticks me off,” Selander said.
Selander is worried that Lil Dicky’s satirical raps will eventually lead to a wave of anti-Semitism against Jews. Dave Chapelle’s trajectory is cited as a comparable example. While the comedian’s “The Chapelle Show” was a massive hit, Chappelle quit at the height of his career and admitted his racially charged sketches were humorous, but too harmful to society.
“There’s a certain way a group may be laughing at a joke that makes it not so funny or satirical,” Selander said. “There’s a difference between people laughing with you and people laughing at you.”
But then again, Lil Dicky just might get a continuous pass. As he raps in his song “White Dude”:
I ain’t black or Dominican, not Hispanic or Indian/So imprisonment is not a predicament, I envision/For a white boy/Holl atcha muthafuckin Kike, boy