The humor of a name like Lil Dicky in a society where an exaggerated priority is placed on the size of a man’s private part is not lost on the listener of rapper Lil Dicky’s music. In fact, comedy seems to be Lil Dicky’s prime focus, to begin with, being that he has previously stated that he began his rap career for the sake of getting his sense of humor exposed so that he could write and act in comedy for television and film.
Lending more truth that Lil Dicky purposely chose a funny stage name is that ‘Dick’ isn’t even Lil Dicky’s real name at all. It is David Andrew Burd, often shortened to Dave Burd, born into an upper-middle-class Jewish family in Cheltenham Township, in the Elkins Park neighborhood that sits at the northern border of Philadelphia.
What was this guy like in high school?
He has had very self-effacing things to say about the past version of himself, such as he didn’t get much female attention, he had insecurities, he got really good grades in his classes, and he was also a class clown that made people laugh – and took pride in it.
University of Richmond to Rap Recordings
Lil Dicky‘s top-notch school grades afforded him the chance to attend the University of Richmond. Here is a fun fact: Lil Dicky and Harlem rapper Dave East not only were both born in the year of 1988, but they both attended the University of Richmond at the same time, and we’re both among the annual ten selections for the 2016 XXL Freshman magazine cover that included other now-famous up-and-comers, Kodak Black, Lil Uzi Vert, 21 Savage, Denzel Curry, Desiigner, G Herbo, and Lil Yachty.
How did Lil Dicky’s comedic pursuits and rapping abilities take shape in Cali? Lil Dicky worked hard in college, graduating summa cum laude from the University of Richmond in 2010 and then relocated over to San Francisco, California as he explained to Vice:
“On my first day as a rapper, I ended up getting a million views. It’s very out there like there’s a whole verse about some other guy’s d*ck. I didn’t know that many people would find it interesting, but I found there’s a wider market for it than I anticipated. So, though I started rapping to be comedic, my ambitions were not to be a rapper. It was to have someone like Judd Apatow to notice I’m really funny.”
The ad agency where Lil Dicky worked in the account management area was called Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. Dicky landed the agency’s NBA “BIG” campaign after he reimagined his monthly progress report as a rap video and was brought over in their creative department for the purpose of writing the advertising copy for those ads and others.
But where did that interest in hip hop come for Lil Dicky? He was a child listening to both hip-hop, preferable Jay-Z and Nas, as well as alternative rock, and his attempts at rapping started in the fifth grade after doing a history report on Alexander Pushkin using rap music, another example of how rapping made his required everyday work more exciting:
“I knew I could rap a little bit, which is not the most unique way of being funny. The more I did it, the better I got at rapping, and then I fell in love with the craft of it, and the possibility that I was a good rapper was very intriguing.”
So Hard and Hump Days
Lil Dicky first started creating his debut mixtape, So Hard, in 2011, taking over two years to finish as he was still balancing it with his day job at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. Dicky recorded most of his earliest elements of So Hard by using his MacBook Pro and a $400 microphone.
This led to him releasing one new song per week for five months straight in 2013, and the April 23, 2013 release of Lil Dicky’s music video for his song “Ex-Boyfriend,” the first single off of the mixtape, that received one million views within 24 hours of arriving on YouTube.
Lil Dicky’s music release series called Hump Days led to him putting out 32 songs and 15 music videos, then eventually needing to run a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to keep going, stating:
“The month-long crowdfunding period began on November 20, 2013, in the attempt to raise $70,000 in order to allow Lil Dicky to continue to produce more music, music videos, and to begin to start touring. This fundraising effort actually went above and beyond his expectations, by a lot, raising – $113,000.”
This great fortunate got the motor running on his career, leading his first live concert in Philadelphia on February 19, 2014, and signing a management agreement with CMSN, whose clients included Tyga and Chiddy Bang.
What Dicky Sounds Like
Comedy and embracing ordinary everyday life free of overemphasizing extravagances have been woven together to create Dicky’s niche. He likes to listen to J. Cole, A$AP Rocky, Snoop Dogg, and Childish Gambino/Donald Glover, whose career in many ways is similar to the trajectory that Lil Dicky is aiming for. The comparisons are in the sense that Donald Glover created the dramedy television series Atlanta, has done stand-up comedy specials, has peppered many of his songs with humor and a quirky outlook on life, has worked in film and puts out successful music.
The subject matter that Lil Dicky has covered includes moments in his life when he doesn’t go out to nightclubs and stays at home for the night, being a Jewish kid, and even the over-the-top image of Lil Dicky in a rap battle with Adolf Hitler. His music videos look and feel like TV sketch comedy scenes.
Professional Rapper Resume
Just how did Lil Dicky get to the point of rapping your YouTube to rapping as his job:
- 2014 – Embarked on his first tour called Professional Rapper Tour. This was followed by five more: Looking for Love Tour in 2015, (Still) Looking For Love Tour in 2016, Dick or Treat Tour in 2016, Australia and New Zealand Tour in 2018, and Life Lessons Tour.
- July 31, 2015 – His debut album Professional Rapper came out on July 31, 2015, and had an impressive list of guests: Snoop Dogg, T-Pain, Rich Homie Quan, Fetty Wap, Brendon Urie from Panic! At the Disco, RetroJace, and Hannibal Buress.
- 2016 – Dicky appeared in a 2016 Funny or Die video “Watch Yo Self” with Mystikal and Trinidad James.
- April 12, 2017 – Lil Dicky released a music video for “Pillow Talking,” containing special effects that made it the 49th most expensive music video ever created.
- September 2017 – Lil Dicky released an EP under his alter ego Brain entitled I’m Brain.
- March 15, 2018 – Lil Dicky released a new single, “Freaky Friday,” featuring Chris Brown. April 9, 2018, the music video for “Freaky Friday” over 100 million views.
- April 2, 2018 – Dicky announced his first Australian tour, a place he had some first-hand knowledge of because he previously studied abroad there for two years in the city of Melbourne.
Animated Earth Song
On April 19, 2019, three days before Earth Day, Lil Dicky arguably put out the biggest song of his career, an environmental dedication to preserving our planet called “Earth.” The music video’s guestlist of celebrity voices for various animated organisms was created in partnership with the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, aimed at motivating our society to engage in better environmental practices worldwide. Even Lil Dicky called the project: “the most important thing [he’ll] ever do.” The epic performer list includes:
- Lil Dicky as Human
- Justin Bieber as Baboon
- Ariana Grande as Zebra
- Halsey as Lion cub
- Zac Brown as Cow
- Brendon Urie as Pig
- Hailee Steinfeld as Mushroom (“Common Fungus”)
- Wiz Khalifa as Skunk
- Snoop Dogg as Marijuana
- Kevin Hart as Kanye West
- Adam Levine as Vultures
- Shawn Mendes as Rhinos
- Charlie Puth as Giraffe
- Sia as Kangaroo
- Miley Cyrus as Elephant
- Lil Jon as Clam
- Rita Ora as Wolf
- Miguel as Squirrel
- Katy Perry as Pony
- Lil Yachty as HPV
- Ed Sheeran as Koala
- Meghan Trainor, Joel Embiid, Tory Lanez, John Legend as backup vocals
- PSY, Bad Bunny, Kris Wu, as Milky Way, the Earth, and Mount Everest
- Backstreet Boys as the Credits
- Leonardo DiCaprio as himself
Even with many bad critical responses, “Earth” has gone on to generate over 264 million views on YouTube, went platinum in the United States, and pushed into top 20 positions in music charts internationally in such countries as Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, and Norway.
Lil Dicky fans were wondering why he hadn’t put out a follow-up album to his debut Professional Rapper in five years. But soon, he had a really good way of showing what he had been up to in the meantime. Dicky co-created with Jeff Schaffer, a TV show called Dave, which portrays a fictionalized version of Lil Dicky’s life as a rapper. Co-creator Jeff Schaffer is known for his work as a writer and executive producer for two of the most memorable comedy television series in history, Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Dave stars Lil Dicky, with his character sharing his real name, “Dave.” The rest of the cast includes Taylor Misiak who appeared in Dicky’s “Pillow Talking” music video, Travis “Taco” Bennett, who was a member of the hip hop collective Odd Future, Christine Ko from the rebooted television series Hawaii Five-O, and Andrew Santino from The Disaster Artist.
Dave had its television premiere on March 4, 2020, on FXX, and by May 11, 2020, Dave was already officially renewed for a second season. What are Lil Dicky fans able to expect from watching Dave?
One thing that is for sure is that there is an incredible array of guest appearances that have popped up on episodes of “Dave.”
On the music side, “Dave” has offered up cameos from Justin Bieber, YG, Macklemore, Trippie Redd, Gunna, Young Thig, Tierra Whack, and Marshmello. On the media side, Charlamagne Tha God and Angela Yee from “The Breakfast Club” have shown up in Lil Dicky’s show, as well as Kourtney Kardashian for extra star power.
What might really stimulate your appetite for the potential that Dave offers is that there is a particularly large executive producer behind the scenes that we can only hope will play a character on there one day – none other than comedic titan Kevin Hart.
Also, on directing and producing duties is Greg Mottola. If the name doesn’t immediately ring a bell, his work in entertainment sure does. Mottola was the director behind the 2007 coming-of-age comedy classic Superbad that made stars out of Jonah Hill and Michael Cera, had Seth Rogen on co-writing and co-starring duties, and benefited from the producing punch of Judd Apatow (Knocked Up).
With Kevin Hart paying attention to Lil Dicky’s comedic chops, there is no telling how big he could get, especially if he is able to transition from television into some film opportunities. Dicky would already be able to get a head start on the movie soundtrack with his own tailor-made music and its running antidotes already in it.
With Lil Dicky finally getting what he wanted to get so many years ago when he decided that rapping could be a great way to transition into comedy writing and comedy acting for television and film, it seems with launching his television show Dave for at least a two-season commitment; his dream is starting to materialize in a big way.
What does this mean for his rap career? Is Lil Dicky preparing himself, and his music audience, for his conversion to being Dave full-time? Will he continue to provide his sense of humor in song form, or will Dave be the jumping-off point from him stepping away from music altogether? It seems that knowing how to make people laugh and taking great pride in bringing a smile to peoples’ faces is where it is at for Lil Dicky, in a big way.