Lil Dicky delivers a humorously, entertaining debut with ‘Professional Rapper’
Lil Dicky • Professional Rapper • CMSN/David Burd Music • Release Date: July 31, 2015
Music is nothing short of a liberal art; it can range from being traditional and conservative, to being incredibly unorthodox and progressive. Music lovers naturally have artists they adore and others they loathe or can’t follow. That’s the way of the world. Even in hip-hop music, there are divides upon what’s legitimate and what’s not.
Being open-minded, I’m of the opinion anyone can do whatever they like musically. Sure, there are personal preferences, but there is no one way to make music. All this is to say that rapper/comedian Lil Dicky is perplexing to some. Is he a legitimate rapper who is serious about the game, or is he more the parodying, comedic type? Some likely think he should pick a lane, while others, like myself believe Lil Dicky is free to do whatever his mind and heart tell him to, and if he presents an album, like Professional Rapper is, then perhaps it’ll be reviewed. So in essence, the Philly born, Richmond graduate dropped an album, and here are my thoughts on it.
Ultimately, Professional Rapper has more upside than downside – there are some great moments and Dicky definitely has the humor on lock down. Also, he has a compelling flow, particularly when he delves into speed rapping territory. His themes aren’t profound, but at least he makes shallowness enjoyable with entertaining rhymes. Does he miss occasionally? Yes, but as aforementioned, there’s more “good” that can outweigh the bad.
THE GOOD includes kickass title track “Professional Rapper,” which is unorthodox, but brilliantly so. Dicky goes on an interview with Snoop Dogg, and basically sells himself why he should be a “professional rapper.” It’s parody to an extent, but honestly, it separates itself from others’ rap tracks too focused on clichés. No, the hip-hop base may not be looking to a wealthy Jewish guy as the next big thing in rap, but he deserves some credit on the set’s first full-length.
“Professional Rapper” is the best moment of the album, but he also shines elsewhere. He’s more serious on “Molly” featuring Brendon Urie (Panic! At The Disco) in which he laments an ended relationship with Molly. Even though he is ‘deeper’ you might say, his profanity laced lyrics such as “When I’m being dumb and stupid who the f**k is going to hit me with the motherf**kin’ jerk face?” arguably add levity, not to mention the ironic nature of lyrics like “And that’s the hardest pill to swallow, babe,” surely a reference to molly the drug.
Dicky is as “bro” as ever on standouts like the percussive, high-flying “Bruh” or the failed swagger of “Classic Male Pregame,” where Dicky “get the spins high and drunk, I throw up in the shower / now I’m jerking off inside a condom (I do that) / I text my ex say, ‘I miss you often’ (true that).” On “Classic Male Pregame” in particular, Lil Dicky seems to be opting for his comic side more than being a profound MC. He closes the set strong with “Truman” where he desires “to get this to a place where I can sell TMZ pictures of my actual a$$hole” and wishes to shouts out to “my brain got the hardest verse on the whole goddam album / I hope my brain starts gettin’ some feature looks.” SMH.
THE BAD mostly comprises of Lil Dicky sometimes growing too indulgent, particularly in his ludicrousness. “Pillow Talking” for example is quite entertaining by all means and it’s incredibly clever that he features his “Brain” as a featured guest. BUT, at 10 minutes long – that’s quite lengthy. The same could be said of his freaky “Lemme Freak” and “Lemme Freak Fo Real Tho.” One would’ve been plenty, but having two tracks or horniness may be a bit of overkill. We get that you are horny, we get that you want to have sex, but your desperation may be a wee bit too much.
Other quibbles are prevalent sexual references. Is there anything wrong with penis and masturbation jokes every now and again? No, particularly if you’re a guy, but are references to plumbing necessarily as frequently as they appear on Professional Rapper? Probably not. The big quibble isn’t far removed from many albums – rap in particular – and that’s the misogyny. Given Dicky’s penchant for comedy and parody, it’s not surprising there’s lots of objectification, but still if we call it what it is, it’s misogynistic, whether you’re a hardcore feminist, or just an objective music critic.
VERDICT So how does it stack up for Lil Dicky? Honestly, if nothing else, Professional Rapper is entertaining. It’s obvious that Lil Dicky isn’t aiming for the heights of say Kendrick Lamar, but he’s found a lane and it’s effective. If you like your hip-hop silly with a respectable flow and vocal tone (this guy has a great voice for a rapper regardless of your opinion of his skills), then you may enjoy Professional Rapper. As my college friends might say, it’s good for “sh*ts and giggles.”
Favorites: “Professional Rapper,” “Molly,” “Bruh,” “Classic Male Pregame,” and “Truman”