This shouldn’t come as a surprise being that the man born David Burd has been very clear about his comedic end game with rap simply used as the vehicle to take him there in style. That said, when the pen hits the paper on his sophomore album PENITH, Dicky still delivers raps on that same “professional” level.
PENITH serves two purposes: it’s Lil Dicky’s second album — and his first in nine years — but it’s also the soundtrack to his aforementioned TV show, DAVE. All 22 songs on the tracklist have appeared in one way or another on the show throughout its three critically acclaimed seasons. They don’t follow any chronological sequencing from the show but are instead positioned in a way that makes most sense for a standard rap album.
For the most part, the songs on PENITH can be broken down into two categories. First are the aimless rap-a-thons that are less-so ‘songs’ and more like radio freestyles laced over simple beats. That may sound like a critique but it isn’t. One of Lil Dicky’s superpowers as a rapper is to perform lyrical miracles over simple yet trunk-rattling beats like he’s back rapping on Sway in the Morning.
Chock-full of different flows, clever metaphors, similes, multisyllabic rhymes, double meanings and more, tracks like “Hearsay,”“YG Interlude,”“Kareem Abdul-Jabbar” and “HAHAHA” are all perfect examples of this “professional” rap ability that is undeniable even to the untrained ear. That said, they don’t move the personal needle for Dicky in any direction but are fun, nonetheless. But lines like: “Looking like I’m straight out of Comic-Con, scrawny don/ Hungry Ramadan, my mama wrong/ She don’t think I got a job, but I’ma make great cheese like Parmesan,” are hard to be mad at.
The second batch of tracks are the ones that attempt to move that emotional needle forward in attempts to provide more insight into who Dave Burd is. These are primarily the storytelling tracks that align with the narrative of the show, better yet, his life.
All are written well, cleverly drawn up and executed (especially the eight minute long “Jail”) but none of them really have a ton of earworms that pack replay value. With the exception of soulfully crafted “Honestly” and the incredibly relatable “Ally’s Song,” it’s tough to imagine playing most of these songs outside the confines your AirPods.
When time runs out on the final track “We Good” and you look back at the last hour of music consumed, it’s hard to point to the exact tracks you can listen to repeatedly. PENITH definitely has some traditionally strong rap moments and funny storytelling tracks but similar to the TV show it scores, you can only see it so many times.
RELEASE DATE: January 19, 2024
RECORD LABEL: Dirty Burd/BMG
Listen to PENITH (The DAVE Soundtrack) below: