For a debut album, Lil Dicky’s Professional Rapper has set the bar for comedic rap not only creatively, but also in numbers. By August 6th the album had broken through to over 22,000 copies sold. Professional Rapper breaks through comedy rap in a way that allows for serious undertones nuanced by his background in advertising, which will be discussed briefly.
Lil Dicky is not by any means the first to pull off a serious career with comedic rap. Although there are way too many artists to list, the album compares easily to the style’s of Dirt Nasty (where comedic rap was blended with pop), MC Chris (where the songs melted rap and trivial day to day instances), and of course the iconic Biz Markie (this album does not compare to the works of Biz Markie, just to make that clear, but he was funny). Lil Dicky throws joke after joke into these instrumentals. his rapping is very fast paced with an NYC/Philly styled flow (Dicky’s point of origin).
On the cover of this album Lil Dicky sports a joint, a condom, and most importantly, his resume. He has an extensive background in marketing and advertising, which could be an imperative aspect to his career. If one is not familiar with the power that advertising or marketing hold within the entertainment industry, check into the author Ryan Holiday. Professional Rapper has instrumentals that range from bay area styled bass lines, to drill and trap based instrumentals.
There really is little room, now, to dismiss Lil Dicky as some kind of opportunist. He is well trained, and his brand of irreverent rap has carved out a place for him among both the faithful and the skeptical.
Lil Dicky Says Responses To “Ex Boyfriend” Became The Turning Point In His Career
HipHopDX: You’ve put out an album that was crowd funded and is on the Billboard charts. Has this all felt like a quick process for you, or was everything done strategically?
Lil Dicky: Well, I think if I look at it from a macro view, from when I put out my mixtape it has been quick. But to be honest, the last two and a half years I just feel like I have been working so hard, that internally, it feels like it’s going super slow. I don’t think that it could be going any faster. The way I see it, I’m just always very forward thinking, and thinking about where I hope to be and if I’m not there yet or until I’m there it feels like it’s not there yet. If you know what I mean.
DX:There needs to be some sort of self awareness of how powerful your fan base is, especially for a crowd funded album, when did you feel like you went from a hobby artist to a, not to quote the name of the album, Professional Rapper?
Lil Dicky: The turning point came when it dawned on me that this could be a career was the first day that I put the first video online, “Ex Boyfriend.” [It] got over one million views on the first day. I had never had anything online so I felt as if this was the first time I was putting myself up to judgment so to speak. And I didn’t know if people would be okay about hearing a guy rap about another guy’s dick for a whole verse. Once that blew up immediately, I saw that there were people who shared my sensibilities.
DX: A lot of rappers over time have done different voices to represent other characters in their songs. The most obvious being Slim Shady. You feature your alter ego Brain on the song “Pillow Talking.” Is this going to be something consistent in your career?
Lil Dicky: Yeah! When I made the song I was thinking that me and the brain are not done yet like there are still more songs out there, Brain will be featured on other songs. I was thinking about how I don’t have a crew. Like A$AP Mob, so I wanted to make my own, and right now it’s me and Brain. And there isn’t really a name for our crew yet.
DX: Music has its own timing. Combining [jokes with music] to make a joke hit properly while maintaining a flow that matches the BPM of a track must be incredibly difficult. Do you have a process of bringing the jokes into the music?
Lil Dicky: It’s basically like I have an idea, for “Save That Money” which features Fetty Wap and Rich Homie Quan. You hear a lot of songs talk about spending money. I am a cheap Jew who has far more pride in the ways in which he saves. I’m very frugal, so then I thought about how a song about saving money would be ironic. Then I think about what kind of vibe would the song need, and what would the beat be like and I then think the best style the song could have would be a Mustardy vibe [DJ Mustard].