Arts & Culture
Meet Lil Dicky, the Next Big Jewish Rapper
The anti-Drake, he raps about his upper-middle class roots, not getting girls, and bodily functions Read More
If Woody Allen was a rapper obsessed with masturbation, he’d be Lil Dicky. “In an era where rap is dominated by racial, social, and economic minorities,” Dicky’s website bio reads, “LD decided to put the upper-middle class on his frail, Jewish shoulders.”
It’s not a joke, though; he’s totally serious. And not everyone’s happy about this career turn—namely, his parents:
“Honestly, I never thought I’d be a rapper. Just saying that out loud sounds weird to me. I’m a rapper. Who grows up to become a rapper? That’s just not really a respected career path in my neck of the woods. My mom’s not thrilled, for example.”
Dicky’s a different kind of rapper: the lanky white guy who is fully aware of and embraces his privileged life, his lack of game, and his enduring insecurity. Unlike Drake, who keeps telling us how he started from nothing (we get it, Drizzy), Dicky pulls no punches about his comfortable upbringing in suburban Philadelphia (“With outstanding parents, and a great backyard for grilling, wiffle ball, and tanning”) and not-so-hardcore musical beginnings (“When he was 14, he opened up for the R&B group 112 at his overnight camp. He’s been rapping ever since”).
The craziest part is that he’s actually talented. He has a smooth voice, good timing, and clever lines. Sure, most of them are completely offensive and so gross I’d never want my mom to listen to them, but objectively speaking, he’s a pretty good rapper.
For Dicky, Jewishness is a badge of honor (and cover art), a schtick that’s so much a part of his act it’s almost hard to call it schtick. What it definitely is, though, is provocative and attention-getting: In the very NSFW “Jewish Flow,” he says his rhymes are “sicker than the Holocaust” (“Jewish Flow” was removed from YouTube, but Dicky won an appeal):
The also NSFW “Ham,” meanwhile, has lines about college and his synagogue. Dicky jarringly refers to himself using an anti-Semitic slur, defending its use by comparing it to black rappers using the N-word. Whether for Dicky it’s artistic reappropriation or something less sincere will likely be debated by commenters (and the ADL) internet-wide.
But he’s sharp, and doesn’t shy away from commenting on his strange, privileged vantage point in the music scene (and in life more generally). In the video for “White Dude,” released online yesterday, Dicky points out the absurdity of life as a white male.
What do you think of Dicky? Let us know in the comments.
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