I first heard about Lil Dicky last year when my roommate showed me his videos on YouTube, like “Ex-Boyfriend,” a song about how he’s worried about having sex with his girlfriend for the first time cause her ex-boyfriend is crazy good looking, and “Too High,” where, well, self-explanatory, he takes a comical look at being really high. A scrawny, Jewish, white guy from Philly in his twenties, rapping, you could say I found some similarities.
His approach was humor, like that of The Lonely Island’s, “Jizz in My Pants” or “Like A Boss,” the kind of awkward humor, anxious situations type comedic rap. And David Burd a.k.a. Lil Dicky, a horrible, but kind of oddly accurate when it comes to his personality, rap name, stepped it up in a big way earlier last month, releasing his debut album Professional Rapper, which he funded on kickstarter, consisting of 20 tracks and an hour and a half long.
The opener title track, “Professional Rapper,” is one I really love, with Dicky explaining his whole shtick, acting like he’s in an interview applying for the job of Professional Rapper, which is apparently awarded by Snoop Dogg, the supposed gatekeeper to the professional rap world. He’s not “hood,” Dicky explains, in fact, he’s from Cheltenham, a small upper-middle class suburb outside Philadelphia. He didn’t have the same harsh upbringing and “struggles” as most rappers, so Snoop asks him, “what makes you want to do rap?,” a topic I recently asked someone who submitted an album for review, and what I believe is the number one question a rapper should be able to answer with ease.
Lil Dicky’s answer: “Oh my god, it’s the best / Bitches let me draw up on their breasts / Literally I can reinvent myself / I get a forum to project myself / It’s never boring, every morning I wake up and try to best myself / I never got to be suppressed or stealthy to express myself / It’s kinda healthy.” And, “I love to rap, it’s fun and kind of therapeutic for me,” is an awesome response, especially when it’s followed up with him saying acting “like a little bitch,” which Snoop says you can’t be in rap, is actually Dicky’s “niche. He explains that “that’s the market ya’ll missed. That’s the target I’ll hit / I wanna do this whole thing different,” because he has “a different perspective way of looking at things.” Dicky’s way is what he calles “anti-rap” or “stand up rap,” where humor and obscene yet relatable stories are the basis of the plot.
Following “Professional Rapper,” Dicky gets the job and gets to write his album, and with the first half, up until about track 10 with Fetty Wap and Rich Homie Quan, I was really enjoying it. Not just because of Fetty Wap and Rich Homie Quan, but because it seemed to kind of lose its whole purpose. “Lemme Freak” and it’s “For Real Tho (Outro)” was a track about not being good at picking up women, because he’s awkward and there’s tons of humor in it, “Molly,” a love song, “Bruh…,” an awesome tour-de-force of rap prowess that I didn’t even know Lil Dicky was capable of, and a funny interlude with Hannibal Buress, one of my favorite comics, but the 2nd half of the record is just long and off-track.
“Personality (feat. T-Pain),” might be the only song after Hannibal that made me laugh. A little bit of “Pillow Talking,” as well, but 10 minutes long is a bit much for a Lil Dicky song, especially when it’s the same beat and flow pretty much for 10 minutes. That’s the main problem with Professional Rapper, it’s just too damn long. I like Lil Dicky, and this record/”Bruh…,” really proved to me that he has the chops and is a great rapper, but Professional Rapper, as a debut record, should be 10-11 tracks instead of 20 tracks (and two of them are 10 minutes long).
I’m worried for him. Only a couple of tracks have that same perfect rap + humor mash-up that “Ex-Boyfriend” and “Too High” had, I don’t know, maybe he needs the videos, the visual aspect might add that extra “umph” that makes Lil Dicky great, but some tracks on Professional Rapper do tell me otherwise, that he can make it with just the audio – he can be a professional rapper.